With vinyl sales and the demand for production continuing to surge, it was only a matter of time until the technology to press records was improved.
The industry is currently hampered by the limited number of factories in operation and the outdated machinery they employ, which causes delays and backlogs as a growing number of labels queue up to get their releases made.
That could all be about to change however, with Canadian company Viryl Technologies announcing it has designed modernised vinyl pressing technology that does the job quicker, more efficiently and to a higher quality than the current machines that were all largely designed in the 1950s and 60s.
Viryl has claimed to have close to a hundred sales leads, and will be hoping to revolutionise the industry by closing these deals, with each press costing a reported $160,000 USD and set to start shipping this year.
If you want to see how the industry currently operates, check out our gallery documenting the inside of a vinyl factory.
The vinyl revolution is continuing apace with US sales of the format hitting 9 million units in the first half of 2015.
According to figures from The Recording Industry Association of America, total sales in 2014 reached 14 million. These new numbers project a rise of nearly 30 per cent in the amount of vinyl sold this year compared to last if sales continue at the same rate.
Research from BPI and Nielsen Soundscan outlining a 38 per cent and 56 per cent growth in the US and UK markets respectively supports this data, reflecting that vinyl sales are at their highest level in over twenty years.
Young people appear to be playing the leading role in the vinyl resurgence. Industry research company MusicWatch has released figures that reveal close to half (47 per cent) of vinyl buyers are under 25.
INSIDE A VINYL FACTORY
The vinyl resurgence is continuing to boom with no signs of slowing down. Sales of records hit a 26-year high in 2015, with nine million units sold in the first half of the year alone, and Discogs racking up $43 million worth of transactions.
Everything from the sound quality down to the aesthetic of vinyl continues to resonate with many music fans, keeping it firmly atop the pile as their number one format. You don’t get the fresh smell of wax when downloading an MP3 file after all.
With this in mind, we thought you’d like to see the artistic process that goes into the production of records.
Photographer Alastair Philip Wiper has provided us with images shot at the Record Industry pressing plant in the Dutch city of Haarlem in March 2015. They’re fascinating photos, capturing in crisp definition the whole operation from the melting of vinyl pucks to the etching of microscopic grooves from which the sound is produced and slotting of the final products into sleeves.
Speaking about the concept of the shoot, Wiper revealed: “I wanted to capture the whole process, but specifically I wanted to get a couple of images that on first glance make you think ‘what is going on there?’ and upon closer inspection it becomes clear that it is something very recognizable, everyday and iconic that is being made.
“It was quite special in the sense that there were distinct areas that were very different: the mastering department was very precise, clean, like a professional recording studio; the area where they make negatives of the masters was like a chemistry lab – and then the factory floor itself was very noisy and factory-like, with these old machines churning out record after record.”