Monday, June 27, 2016

Vinyl Production Is About to Get a Whole Lot Easier for Artists

Written by Paul Resnikoff — What if you didn’t have to wait months for your vinyl run to finish?

Besides streaming, vinyl is the only other recording format that is growing. It’s also the only lucrative for most artists, though production costs and heavy delays are now a serious reality. As the unexpected surge in record buying keeps intensifying, old-line production facilities are getting overwhelmed.

Artists, in turn, sometimes have to wait 6 months or more for a standard production run to complete. At best, they’re running out of inventory at shows and online, though at worst, they can’t come close to meeting the demand.

But if there’s so much demand, where are the new factories? Part of the problem is that vinyl production plants require lots of capital, though investors are uncertain whether vinyl is simply a fad. Theoretically, vinyl demand could keep multiplying over the next ten years, but what if it doesn’t?

It’s a classic Catch 22, though now, some of those issues appear to be abating as LPs and 45s enter their tenth straight year of gains. One company putting a shovel to the ground is Dallas-based Hand Drawn Records, which is planning to start construction on an automatic pressing facility this fall. Hand Drawn claims this is the ‘world’s first automated pressing plant’ in 30 years, and hopes to simplify the ordering and turnaround process entirely. “We want to encourage more artists to consider pressing vinyl, but without all the hassle,” said Hand Drawn founder Dustin Blocker.

“Musicians want to focus on playing their instruments and connecting with fans, not learning all the nuances of the vinyl record manufacturing process.”

Meanwhile, LPs themselves are starting to improve in other ways, with ‘high definition vinyl’ technology already receiving patent protections. That future format not only promises a far greater experience for fans, but a faster and more modern production process than the 60s- and 70s-era production equipment that characterizes record manufacturing today.

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