By now, you may have heard about the vinyl record’s resurgence, but have you thought about what this new hunger for records means for vinyl manufacturers and distributors?
For mid-western vinyl maker Chad Kassem, who has run Quality Record Pressings for four years, it means a rapid expansion of his plant, which now presses 1 million LPs annually, according to USA Today. The Salinas, Kansas-based plant just announced that they will buy 13 new record presses from Joell Hays, an owner of unused record presses, to meet demand for the retro products.
On finding unused record presses, Kassem said “[it was] like opening Al Capone’s vault and actually finding something,” via the press release announcing the purchase of 13 presses. “It was getting aggravating because everyone all over the world is looking for presses and I knew that without them, we simply couldn’t deal with all the orders for vinyl we had on the books.”
Vinyl’s resurgence has been a real-life example of demand outstripping supply. No new record presses have been manufactured since the early 1980s, according to the President of Record Products of America Bob Roczynski.
This is unsurprising, through, as vinyl’s growth has been a sudden and recent development. 9.2 million records were sold in 2014, according to Nielsen Soundscan data, a growth of 52 percent over 2013 and millions more than vinyl sales in the ’90s and early ’00s.
The presses Kassem found were last used in the ’90s to make bootleg 78 RPMs which were then exported to India.
Kassem said that his firm has four months of back orders, and he’s not alone. This past May, 65 year-old record pressing firm United Record Pressing invested $5.5 million into 16 new record presses to keep up with increased demand for vinyl.
Once QRO revives the 13 presses, which Kassem approximates were made between 1968 and 1972, it will have 27 presses and will be a significant competitor to URP (which has 46 plants and is the nation’s largest vinyl manufacturer).
We hope that the demand for Kassem’s plants will continue, as vinyl’s revival is a small bit of positive news for an ever-shrinking recorded music industry.