With a new plant opening doors on the city’s north side, Nashville could soon be known for a new nickname: Vinyl fabric City U. S. The.
Albums began spinning last month out associated with Nashville Record Pressing, a $13 million operation from GZ Media, a Czech Republic company with existing North American operations in Toronto and Memphis. The company aims to bring 36 new pressing machines online — a needed capacity addition in an industry fighting to meet rocketing demand.
When teaming Nashville Record Pressing with a landmark expansion at longstanding plant United Pressing and independent operation Vinyl Lab, it could be argued that no city within U. S. produces more vinyl albums than Nashville.
Add in the $30 million expansion planned for GZ-owned Memphis Record Pressing and Tennessee could be considered the vinyl capital of North America, said Drake Coker, CEO of Nashville Record Pressing.
“Our customers asked us to be here, ” Coker said. “They continued to ask us… for more and more capacity. And they specifically asked all of us to locate here, if we could, to get close to them and close to their distribution. ”
He later added: “There’s going to be a tremendous amount of capacity here. ”
The new plant began pressing records on six new machines by late June. Nashville Record Pressing plans to add 12 to 24 machines — depending on international shipping and installation logistics — by the end of the month.
When the plant hits 36 machines, Nashville Record Pressing should produce about 96, 000 albums a day out of the 100, 000-square-foot space.
“Our focus here is really simple: We’re trying to build a good amazing record pressing facility, ” Coker said. He added: “With the engineering and technology we are bringing to bear here, we have a real opportunity to be — without hyperbole — one of the best record pressing plants in the world.
“That’s our entire focus. To do the best job we can, every single day. ”
What does a new plant mean for record collectors? More albums and — hopefully — shorter wait times for a release to hit shelves.
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Last year, U. S. sales reached nearly 42 million units , according to Luminate, a media consumption company formerly known as MRC-Nielsen-SoundScan. Vinyl accounted for more than half of all physical music sales in 2021, growing dramatically from 3. 9 million records sold a decade ago.
But with swelling demand comes the wave of growing pains. Many in the vinyl industry — from artists to labels and storefronts — continue to juggle delayed pressing windows, overseas shipment woes and increased competition led by cooperate giants Target, Amazon plus Wal-Mart. These stores often jostle for sales within a marketplace led for a time by indie shops largely responsible with regard to a resurgence in the particular once-niche format.
Still, with more capacity available, the music business stands in a better place than it did a year ago, said Joe Dent, senior vice president at Concord.
“The quantity of these new players and these new presses is an industry-wide benefit, ” Dent said. “The more capacity, the a lot more we can deliver on the demand that we haven’t been able to deliver upon in the past year or so. ”
And more presses creates more jobs in the record-making industry. Nashville Record Pressing employs about 50 workers for an one-shift operation, a number that should increase to regarding 225 as management implements a second and third shift, Coker said.
Or, in another way he described it: It’s a bit like building an airplane as it starts down the runway. Nashville Record Pressing took over the North Nashville space last December, beginning construction in March.
“It took us three months and 22 days through the time construction started to the time all of us made our first report, ” Coker said, “which is kind-of nuts. ”
But most can agree that demand-driven growing pains make a good problem to tackle.
Vinyl City wasn’t built in a day, after all.
“We believe [the new capacity] will do something to help balance supply and demand a bit more, ” Coker stated. “Not saying it’s going to correct the problem entirely, but the number of presses that we will have online in the particular next 12 months… it’s a lot of records. ”