original headquarters to a new 140,000-square-foot
facility— the old HQ had only 40,000 square feet.
And artists are happy that fans are embracing vinyl
and doing their best to make it worth their while.
“A big reason that people actually buy records,
20 percent in the U.S., while paperback
beyond the quality and owning the artwork, is that
you’re actually [supporting] the artists when you
purchase the physical record rather than streaming,”
explains Rice. “A good percentage of the money
goes back to the artist.”
king. E-book sales plummeted by nearly
and hardback book sales were up and
board games were so popular that
Hasbro launched a subscription service.
But outpacing all of its tangible brethren
was the vinyl record, which reached a
25-year sales high. Sony announced it
would produce vinyl records again —
after a 28-year hiatus — and a new vinyl
subscription service, Experience Vinyl, launched with
big names such as Elton John and George Clinton
slated to be artist-curators. (Another subscription ser-
vice, Vinyl Me, Please, has been around since 2013.)
The annual Record Store Day celebration — originally
designed to get customers back inside independent
record stores and browsing vinyl — just celebrated
its 10th anniversary with record numbers and stores
spanning the globe from Neves Records in Brazil to
Moonhop Records in New Zealand.
If there is one business that is a harbinger for the
vinyl renaissance, it is United Record Pressing, the
largest producer of vinyl records in North America.
Based in Nashville, Tennessee, the company began
in 1949 and found so much success working with
Motown recording artists that it made the second
story of its headquarters into an apartment where
black musicians could stay unencumbered by Jim
Crow laws. But by the late ’90s, United Record
Pressing was limping by on producing 10-inch
records for radio DJs and jukeboxes.
“Now we have a full staff five to six days a week
depending on the schedule and the workload,” says
Kendale Rice, marketing and business development
manager at United Record Pressing. “We’re running
between 40,000 to 50,000 records a day.” This past
year the company had to move operations from its
A New Spin
Vinyl records are getting a big second
act, but what has sent people digging
through the record bins in the first place?
BY POLLY BREWSTER