Vinyl Manufacturers To World: “We’re Still Here, Dammit!”

Feb 22nd, 2007 // 8 Comments

recordplant.jpgThanks to CDs and MP3s, vinyl records mostly appeal to a small amount of consumers noawadays–sort of like pogs, or American-made cars. But this Associated Press story about Nashville’s United Record Pressing indicates that some wax-workers are still thriving:

…Vinyl still accounts for a small percentage of music sales. Last year 858,000 LPs were sold, compared with 553.4 million CDs, according to Nielsen SoundScan. While the 2006 figure was up slightly from 2005, the overall trend has been down from 1.5 million in 2000. [Company CEO Cris Ashworth] believes the data are skewed, though, because a lot of vinyl is sold in mom and pop stores not reflected in the SoundScan numbers.

His company has managed to thrive by picking up business from rivals in a shrinking market. Today, he has only 13 competitors, compared with several dozen before CDs took over in the ’90s. Revenue hit $5 million in 2004 and grew to $7 million in 2005. Last year saw significant growth over 2005, Ashworth said.

A majority of that business comes from hip-hop and dance artists eager to get their songs into the clubs, and we’re guessing additional revenue is supplied by well-off nerdophiles who need their virgin-vinyl reissue of The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. But perhaps the most interesting tidbits in the story are about the 45-year-old plant itself, which includes a “party room” that once hosted a Wayne Newton birthday party, and even features a furnished apartment that hosted out-of-towner Motown producers during the segregation era.

Record maker puts his stamp on music history [AP, via UsaToday.com]

  1. deusdiabolus

    We shall always need the wax. May the plants never close down.

  2. pjohn

    the folks at united are pretty easy to work with once you realize you aren’t boring them every time you call. they just happen to have a slowed down southern approach to things. that said, they have a special right now where you can press 300 7″s for under $500 – haven’t found a better deal than that anywhere… though would love to hear about it if there was one!

  3. NickEddy

    That there’s not a massive grassroots movement to reissue large quantities of Nick Heyward “From Monday to Sunday” is the REAL tragedy here.

    OR Black Flag “Process of Weeding Out.”

    Perhaps if global warming doesn’t pan out, concerned citizenry can grouse re: this.

  4. chaircrusher

    Archer in Detroit — who press almost all the Detroit Techno records — are also awesome to work with.

    The demand for vinyl records will never go away entirely for many reasons, but the ability to produce them is threatened. No one currently manufactures the cutting lathes needed to make the master lacquers. For environmental reasons, the raw vinyl to press the records is only manufactured by a few companies.

    Luckily, up until the late 80s the music industry produced a bazillion records, and they all show up in the thrift stores eventually. Sure, except for dance music, most popular music doesn’t get released on vinyl. But for every new CD produced now, you can go to the thrift store and get the record from which the new band bit their style.

  5. janine

    “Sure, except for dance music, most popular music doesn’t get released on vinyl.”

    That’s untrue. There are very few records, particularly indie rock records, that aren’t released on vinyl. Ususally at a lower price than CDs with bonus tracks.

  6. Anonymous

    Also, some indie rock vinyl is now coming with a free digital download of the album so you can have the record and put it on your ipod…

  7. Juancho

    Hell, the only way to find some older jazz or blues is on vinyl. Of course, you’re going to be paying $30 for 180 or 200 gram, but…

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