In recent years, much has been made of an apparent resurgence or “comeback” of vinyl records, with every passing year seeing the retro format gain more of a market share, despite the growing ubiquity of digital downloads and streaming. But according to one plant owner, vinyl never died.
Jay Millar, director of marketing for the Nashville-based United Record Pressing, the pressing plant responsible for Jack White’s recent record-breaking Lazaretto, recently spoke to Billboard about the vinyl resurgence myth in the wake of the plant’s expansion, which will double their capacity.
“About 30-40,000 records a day,” said Millar, when asked how many units United make. “That’s with 22 presses. [But] it varies. It’s gonna be quicker to do one order of 5,000 than five orders of 1,000 because of set up times, making sure everything sounds good. So the days can fluctuate a bit.”
Millar then rubbished the misconception that digital has replaced physical media, explaining that it has actually bolstered vinyl’s growth and that “vinyl never died,” saying, “It’s just been a shift in the public’s perception. It’s been a wonderful, chance happening that the rise or emergence of digital slowed down the 12″ jukebox single and also brought the renewed interest in something tangible.”
“While it hurt what was keeping the plant running in the ’90s, the LP market exploded as people wanted a deeper connection to their music than they were getting from a digital file.” Millar even asserted that Record Store Day is in fact a result of a rise in vinyl and not the other way round.
“I would say Record Store Day is a result of the rise in vinyl. From my own experience, it was the emergence digital music players that brought on the rise in vinyl,” Millar opined. “It’s people wanting to have that “deluxe” experience. I compare it to going to the movie theatre versus the DVR.”
As Rolling Stone reported, this year’s RSD was the most successful ever for vinyl sales, which rose 58 percent from RSD 2013. Independent record stores saw a 91 percent overall sales increase compared to the previous week and to the 59 percent seen in 2013 and 0.4 during its 2008 debut.
Listen: Jack White – Lazaretto