Vinyl Presses

Do We Need More Vinyl Presses?

We Discogians sure do love our vinyl. Day after day, week after week, and year after year, we are constantly reminded that more and more people of all ages become entranced and taken in by the allure of pulling out a glorious slab of wax and throwing it down on the turntable. Hell, some people don’t even bother going that far, preferring to keep their newly purchased piece of music fully enshrined inside its seal, only being present to occasionally stare at it and caress the cardboard like a newborn baby. Any way you cut it, people love purchasing records, not just for the music therein, but for the culture that stems from it. 

Of course, this means that more and more vinyl pressing plants keep popping up all across the world to meet the salivating demand. Despite reports that mechanical parts are exceptionally hard to find, experienced vinyl pressers are on short supply, and the prices for pressings continue to sky-rocket, it hasn’t slowed the appearance of more vinyl pressing plants materializing. The demand is, in fact, so high that bizarre micro-interests are beginning to bud from the more traditional pressers just as they used to in the 70s and 80s. For instance, the new service, vinylize.it is offering users the opportunity to take any track available on Soundcloud and transform it into a spinning analog disc of wonderment. It hasn’t officially launched yet, but it will be interesting to see what the charge for this service will be.  If you simply Google “new vinyl pressing plant”, there will no doubt be a laundry list of news articles that present themselves, all written with a certain wide-eyed astonishment that shows not quite anyone can believe the resurgence vinyl has commandeered in recent years. 

As a Discogs user and vinyl enthusiast long before the recent explosion, I feel a bit tepid and skeptical of all this.  When the vinyl presses begin to churn out all of the re-issues, shoddily-pressed “limited editions”, and noisy blue vinyl “exclusives”, does this not further trivialize the culture it’s meant to endorse? Isn’t part of the fun of record collecting tracking down that original pressing and owning that piece of history? In ten years time, will these new pressings not show up in a bargain bin somewhere while the hangers-on scramble to find those original pressings?  Is this new generation of vinyl buyers even interested in purchasing these artefacts to listen to, or are they merely in this racket to acquire what they have been told is a “limited edition”? Or am I just full of shit here, unable to see the bigger picture to all of this?  Any way you look at it, individuals are constantly thinking of new and inventive ways to capitalize on our vinyl obsessions by monumenting new vinyl pressers by the day. 

What do you think, Discogs users? Do we need more vinyl presses? Will this glut of interest make our attention to vinyl wane, or will it further stoke our impulses to buy even more? Do more re-issues make those original pressings even further skyrocket in price? Tell us what you think! 


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2 Comments
  • Jul 22,2016 at 22:36

    “first press of ‘in the court of the crimson king'”?
    man, there are enough presses of that lp through the 90’s in the used bins to keep anyone interested in discovering it more that satisfied. they don’t need to be wasting pressing time and resources on making new editions of that. plus, at $30-50 a pop on the recent pressings, not too many of these whipper-snappers are going to flock to snag it now anyway.
    beyond that, the garbage that they are repressing is beyond infuriating. the first 6 AEROSMITH lps? what, the glut of dollar bin refuse wasn’t enough? THE WHO? used copies in “good” condition sell for $10-15; why do you need to press another 3500 copies at $45 a pop? BLINK 182 ‘dude ranch’ for $35? MADONNA re-issues at $25? what the hell are these fools thinking?!
    in answer to the main question: yes, we need more presses and more plants. modern equipment with serviceable components is a must if we want to see the industry survive. in the mid 00’s indie labels could turn a release around in about 6-8 weeks for a pressing of 500. now it takes nearly 6-8 months AT BEST because the majors are flooding the market with all of these represses that no one will buy. used to be that you could find plenty of QUEEN lps in the used bins; now that they are being repressed at $30, a $15 copy of “news of the world” seems like a pretty good deal (when i bought it, it was $8 used and i thought THAT was outrageous).
    beyond that, the materials costs for all the LPs is also partially responsible for the increased prices on 7″. who could have predicted in 2000 that the cost of a new four song EP (or a two song single) in 2016 would be the same price we paid for a full LP?

    but, the real bottle-neck appears to be the mastering stage where lacquers are cut then presses are made from. the lack of trained or knowledgeable personnel is a major concern.

    now get off my lawn!

  • Jul 22,2016 at 15:01

    I suspect that original pressings will continue to skyrocket but reissues offer the young and foolish [who can’t afford to drop $800 on a first Island UK pressing of “In The Court Of The Crimson King”] an easy in to this addiction. I have been wondering when the first vinyl presses of the 21st century would manifest. Surely, things were now up to the threshold where venture capital would get involved for the co$tly R+D necessary to bring vinyl production kicking and screaming into the 21st century. The WarmTone presses seem to be the first results in this regard.

    http://www.handdrawnrecords.com/hand-drawn-records-to-launch-vinyl-pressing-facility/

    Personally, I still see vinyl as a retrograde technology to be overcome. An intermediate step between the cylinder and the CD with a lot of physical limitations. I like what Pere Ubu say on the subject:

    http://www.hearpen.com/technical.html

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