Vinyl records generate more revenue than ad-supported streaming, and fans absolutely love the higher-priced, warmer-toned format. The only problem is that vinyl is incredibly difficult and expensive to produce, with turnaround times that sometimes stretch for months. It all depends on the plant, the volume of competing orders, and a host of other factors, thanks to a worsening production glut.
The reason for the bottleneck is that newer pressing machines simply aren’t being produced, which means that most plants are working with decades-old equipment while scrambling to fix rare, obsolete parts. Meanwhile, vinyl demand is surging, but volumes are actually a small fraction of their peak in the 70s. Which means that manufacturing companies and entrepreneurs are extremely hesitant to invest in creating new equipment, especially if vinyl turns out to be a big, nostalgic fad.
“We’re just making old manual pressing machines with new parts.”
Into this complex situation enters Newbilt Machinery GmbH & Co., a German-based company that is now shipping the first, newly-manufactured vinyl pressing machine in more than 30 years. According to details from Plastics News (PN), Newbilt has partnered with Connecticut-based Record Products of America, a company specialized in creating vinyl molds, with prices starting at $100,000.
The Newbit machine could seriously ease vinyl production deals, and spark a new surge in vinyl growth. “The new Newbilt vinyl record press machines are rolling off the assembly line now,” the company declared in a recently-mailed invite to their Alsdorf-based manufacturing facility. “Perhaps you are interested to see and touch a Newbilt vinyl record system.”
The Newbilt manufacturing philosophy is to essentially an update on an old n’ reliable workhorse design with a variety of modern-day upgrades, including an electronic control system and a hydraulic power supply. “Newbilt is based upon historically proven designs that work,” the company explains. “The antiquated electronic, hydraulic and control systems have been replaced with up-to-date ones to vastly improve productivity and reliability.”
Record Product of America echoed that sentiment. “We haven’t invented anything new,” RPA technical sales manger Dan Hemperly told Plastics News. “We’re just making old manual pressing machines with new parts.”
Now for the best part: some of the first machines are being dispatched to Detroit, home to Third Man Records. The machines will be on display within a massive production facility, where Third Man founder Jack White is continuing to ramp up staff.