Inside a Modern Record Making Factory

A photo tour documenting the production process at Independent Record Pressing vinyl record factory as part of the series exploring the manufacturing culture in and around New York City

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
Packing process
Freshly printed record for Radiohead

Independent Record Pressing
300 Bordentown Hedding Rd, Bordentown, NJ (Map it)
independentrecordpressing.com

My Favorite Record Shops

Turntable Lab
84 East 10 St., East Village 
turntablelab.com

Academy Records
85 Oak St., Greenpoint 
academy-lps.com

Co-op 87 Records
87 Guernsey St., Greenpoint 
facebook.com/coop87records

Permanent Records
159 20 St., Park Slope 
permanentrecords.info

Halcyon
74 Wythe Ave., Williamsburg 
halcyontheshop.com

Deep Cuts Record Store
57-03 Catalpa Ave, Flushing 
facebook.com/DeepCutsRidgewood





I’m giving away one of my favorite recent records by Independent Record Pressing — “22, A Million” by Bon Iver.

Enter your email to participate — I’ll pick a random email and announce the winner on June 20. You must be at least 18 years old and living in the US to participate.