Published Dec 23, 2014As has been well-documented in the last couple of years, the vinyl market has been exploding while pressing plants remain scarce, resulting in production delays (particularly surrounding Record Store Day). Fat Possum Records, however, is trying a new strategy to work around the problem — the label has created its own pressing plant.
The newly launched Memphis Record Pressing was put together by Fat Possum head Matthew Johnson and Bruce Watson, along with AudioGraphics Masterworks bosses Mark Yoshida and Brandon Seavers. Its nine presses will make at least 7,000 records per day and possibly as many as 14,000. (Even this optimistic estimate is less than half of the volume of industry giant United Record Pressing, however.)
Johnson told Billboard that he created the factory to combat the delays associated with production and customs. "I'm tired of all that shit," he said. "I hate this business. It's getting so bad. If I want to sit down, I feel like I have to cut a tree down, cut it into boards, make a chair — it's ridiculous. You used to not have to worry about manufacturing. Now you do."
The first record pressed in the plant was a reprint of Youth Lagoon's 2011 album The Year of Hibernation (watch a video of that record being made below). Fat Possum will release the Districts' debut album A Flourish and a Spoil on February 10.
Memphis Record Pressing won't deal solely with Fat Possum releases. It will also make records for other companies, particularly those working with Sony's RED Distribution. RED helped finance the plant when it went over budget.
"United is five months backordered, and everyone else is that or more," said Johnson. "We used to be able to get these turned around in seven weeks."
Hopefully, this new plant can ease some of the backlog that currently has the vinyl industry in a stranglehold — partly if it avoids novelty records.
Meanwhile, Canada recently lost its only vinyl plant.