The pressing machines are restarted


The renaissance of the vinyl records disrupts the musical landscape and brings mutations in the organization of production

a vinyl pressing machine
Photo © United Record, pressing plant
The vinyl’s comeback is confirmed. While the record was obsolete several years ago, it increasingly makes its return in the crates. Whether it’s the small and independents labels or the heavy guns of the Music Industry, they all want their records. That’s the new trend!

– Jack White, quite recently, rejoiced us with his Lazaretto –
Lazaretto Lp, jack white
After having its peak in the 60’s and 70’s and then fallen into disuse in the 80’s, the vinyl market rises from the ashes to find a new excitement. The years 2010, resolutely sound like the revival of the vinyl. But every success has its price. Production can not keep pace. The demand is getting stronger, the delays are getting longer and the orders are piling up. The wait is too long, from few weeks, we go to several months. Market players (majors, labels, pressing plants …) have had to think about restructuring. The return of the pressing machines has already begun.

orders are piling up in a pressing plant
Photo © Gotta Groove Record – Orders are piling up

For example:

* For the French and European leader in the manufacture of vinyl records: MPO (Moulage Plastique de l’Ouest), it was a real resurrection. They literally revived the machines. In 2010, they have produced 3.7 million of LPs. In 2014, they were close to 7 million units!

* Some labels also have come to have their own pressing plant to move away from subcontracting with a third party (with all that entails, including saving time, travel and money) and be able to quickly respond to their needs. This is exactly what the American label Fat Possum did (Black Keys, Temples, Iggy & the Stooges, Dinosaur Jr …) by creating Memphis Record Pressing. This pressing plant allows them to provide its production; between 7 and 14 000 vinyl a day and running at full speed, all day long, 6 days a week).

* In addition to these behemoths, we also saw emerging in the landscape, a large number of small manufacturers specialized in mini-series, even pressing record by the unit. The market is saturated; they have to offer something different. They add value by offering “custom-made” records; that is to say, with a choice of songs, a personalized cover done by a graphic designer, stickers, delivery…

Here is a non-exhaustive list, if you have very personal desires:

Let’s hope that is not just a marketing trend but rather a return to basics where the concept of object and sound quality are predominant criteria!