In 2015, about 18 million vinyl records were sold in the US only. While music streaming streaming has taken over our speakers, the market of vinyl is flourishing. I headed down to Bordentown, New Jersey (65 miles from Manhattan) to see if anything changed in how records are made today. A freshmen in the industry, Independent Record Pressing started in 2015 focusing on smaller labels and high-quality vinyl — and now up to almost 2 million records a year.
The six pressing machines the factory needed to buy date back to 1970s and had to be delivered from Canada.
With the rising demand for new vinyl, major printers take up to 6 months to print a batch. To meet the demands, places like Independent Record Pressers work on smaller prints helping emerging and off-beat musicians to make their records available as soon as possible.
Vinyl pellets are poured into a machine that heats them up.
The actual pressing is a straightforward process that has hardly changed. Vinyl is heated and formed into a small thick round piece — a biscuit. The biscuit then goes in between two nickel stampers, one for each of the two sides of the record, and imprints the grooves (the music) into the soft vinyl.
Vinyl pellets are heated and pressed into a biscuit that will be used for one record.
A freshly printed record with extra vinyl residue that will be trimmed and re-used.
Record labels, one for side A, and one for side B.
Stampers are metal record “templates” with etched grooves that will be pressed onto the vinyl biscuit.
An industrial boiler is used to produce the heat needed to melt vinyl.
The extras trimmed from the already pressed vinyl.
A plan on the wall showing which record each press is pressing at the moment.
A library of labels placed on the record covers.
A weekly plan of production and shipments.
Freshly printed record for Radiohead.