High Oil Prices Raise Cost of Pressing and Buying Vinyl

High Oil Prices Raise Cost of Pressing and Buying Vinyl
As soaring oil prices raise the cost of everything, from air fare to groceries to touring, they are also threatening to jack up the price of something many music lovers hold dear: vinyl. While retailers and labels enjoy the recent vinyl resurgence, many U.S. pressing plants are taking a hit due to the higher price of petroleum, from which vinyl is made, a recent Oregonian article has revealed. This has, in turn, forced some plants, such as the one used by Sub Pop, to charge more for vinyl pressings, with many more on the verge of following suit, a move that may not bold well for consumers at the cash register.

At Nashville’s United Record Pressing, director of marketing Jay Millar explained to the Oregonian that the vinyl manufacturing industry is almost entirely based on petroleum, with it being used for everything from the vinyl itself to the oil needed for the machines to the gas used to ship the records, which already cost more because they are heavier than CDs.

"Realistically there's not a component involved in our manufacturing that hasn't gone up," Millar told the Oregonian, adding the company may soon raise its prices. "I think it's inevitable."

According to Steven Sheldon, the president of the California pressing plant Rainbo Records, the manufacturing costs of vinyl have been on the rise since the start of the year. "It's gone up 11 percent since January 1, and I understand another increase is coming, about a 4 to 6 percent increase," Sheldon told the Oregonian. Including gas prices, the per-record cost has likely increased 20 to 22 cents a record, he said.

At another plant in Portland, CDForge, the current cost of producing a CD is about $1 per disc, compared to $4 to $8 per unit for vinyl, the company said.

However, while the threat of pricier vinyl looms, Nielsen SoundScan has reported that so far this year 803,000 pieces of vinyl have sold in the U.S. and Canada. By this time last year, 454,000 records had sold, making for a 77 percent increase between 2007 and 2008. Also, SoundScan has predicted that vinyl sales could reach as high as 1.6 million this year, the Oregonian reported.

How vinyl is made…