Rainbo Records Is Officially Shutting Down After 80 Years — Here’s a Message from the President

An old test-pressing label from LA-based Rainbo Records

An old test-pressing label from LA-based Rainbo Records

Just as vinyl records are taking off, one of the format’s largest pressing plants — Rainbo Records in Los Angeles — is shutting down.

The news is quickly spreading around the industry today, with Rainbo Records president Steve Sheldon delivering the harsh news. The issue seems to be the price of the current location in Canoga Park, California, with Sheldon pointing to a massive rent hike. It looks like either accepting the increases or relocating are both too expensive.

Rainbo Records dates back to 1939, and Sheldon first started at the company in 1971.  (Incidentally, the test pressing above mentions ‘Santa Monica, California’ though if you think the rent is high in Canoga Park…)

Here’s the letter sent out to Rainbo Records clients and partners this morning.

Dear Valued Customers,

After well over a year of trying to negotiate an agreement with our Landlord to keep Rainbo on Eton Street, I am sorry to say that unfortunately we have been unsuccessful.  Our Landlord apparently has other plans for this building and has demanded that we vacate the space.

It is with incredible sadness that I must announce to you that as of January 31, 2020 we must be out of the building and Rainbo after eighty years will no longer be in business.

Rainbo will continue to operate through December to complete all orders that we have in house now.

We will cease to take any new orders immediately.

We will help you as much as possible to get your assets that we may have in our possession returned to you or shipped to another supplier.

You will need to request what you want returned by selection numbers.  There will be a nominal fee to pack up components and ship them out and you will be responsible for all freight cost.

No parts will be returned if you have any unpaid invoices with us.

I am sure you might have some questions and I and our team will be here to answer and try to help make this transition as easy as possible.

Sincerely,

Steven Sheldon

38 Responses

  1. Nicky Knight

    Sad news, surely there must be an independently wealthy reader here who can take over the assets and relocate the vinyl pressing factory to a new warehouse site somewhere in downtown LA.

  2. Sam

    So, there are no other spaces in all of LA that they can move to?

    • Paul

      Why does it have to be LA? There 49 other states, 1000s of other cities w/ lower cost and available labor. And that’s just the US

      • Sam

        Doesn’t have to be. It’s just there is more at play here than location and increased rent.

        • greyson

          what’s at play is their poor rep in the industry. the ONLY thing that kept them around was that all their competition died off when vinyl waned as a format. they were one of the few choices you had for years.

          now that plants are opening all over the country, their botched rep for producing garbage has been their demise.

          • Sam

            Actually he’s right on. Ppl are celebrating the closure of the worst vinyl pressing plant on the planet and please, please nobody let them rent a space from you to reopen.

  3. Knob Twiddler

    Their equipment is ancient, the quality of the work was just so-so and to top it off, LA is insanely expensive…..not a combo for success in today’s market.

      • Greyson

        you, barry, are a deluded buffoon. rainbo’s quality has been steadily going downhill for the past 25+ years. tons of labels dropped them as clients over the years, and took their business elsewhere, so them being in financial straits when other plants can’t even keep up with demand comes as no shock.

  4. Warren

    Rainbo is the worst pressing plant ever. I gave up on buying anything pressed by them because it was riddled with defects – non-fill, off-centre, scratches, warps, random surface noise…. a complete lack of quality control all around. They became infamous after totally botching the Beatles stereo vinyl reissues. They seemed more concerned with pressing as much as possible rather than putting out quality vinyl. Good riddance Rainbo, you won’t be missed! Hopefully somebody who is willing to produce quality vinyl will purchases these presses and maintain them properly.

    • Cliff

      Yeah, a company thats been around 80 years, and would STILL be going strong if it wasn’t for pure greed on the part of a shitty landlord is the worst pressing plant?.. I think the higher level clientele they catered to has/had a much higher opinion than you and your one-off mentality.

      • greyson

        what’s with the weird rainbo fans rabidly jumping to their defense here? rainbo has garnered a rep for being the last plant you want to press your records with the past coupla decades. i’ve watched tons of established labels drop them for better companies like erika, etc.

        and cliff… that last sentence make me think that you were dropped on your head at birth. and every day for a year thereafter.

          • Sam

            You’re the only one laughing Damien and I can’t tell if it’s at your bad joke or because you have a lot of vinyl pressed by this plant

        • Cliff

          Jumping to their defense? A fact is a fact – a company in this industry would not survive 80 years if it was as bad as you claim, for as long as you claim they were. Seems you don’t grasp the simple facts that they aren’t going out of business because they don’t have clients – quite the opposite, it was due to a greedy son-of-a-bitch landlord who has different plans for the building and the cost to move the entire facility is not worth it, especially in California with all your jack-ass liberal restrictions, exorbitant business/corporation costs, cal-OSHA, etc, etc. Why do you think most companies move out of CA or don’t want to setup here to begin with in the past 25+ years you fool?! and The last sentence was to point out that your “one-off” music project probably didn’t meet your quality expectations because your material just sucked to begin with and thats why your just bitter at Rainbo. You probably don’t have a clue as to anything relating to vinyl manufacturing and too dumb to even think of the hundreds of thousands of records made – maybe millions when you think of how long they were going strong – that had no issues whatsoever, but in your perfect world, one complaint from a snotty little bitch (like yourself) that didn’t get their record exactly on the day you were told it ‘might’ be done because YOU gave a bad master or never approved your tests like you should have, or some issue with the audio which is usually do to a poorly or improperly created CD audio master that you thought you could use for vinyl (again, by fools like yourself) should cause a company to shut down, even though they a company that would go as far to lose money to try and make your bitch-ass happy in the end if there was a legitimate quality issue?!? wow – you ARE dumb. . But, then again, there’s no pleasing whiny little C#[email protected] like yourself. Funny how most of the majors DIDN’T drop Rainbo as a manufacturer as you claim, and in fact were/are dealing with them until the last days. Get your facts straight, and when you do, just blow ’em out your ass.

          • Warren

            Dear Cliff. I’m guessing you work at Rainbo or have some involvement with them. Otherwise i’m not sure why you’d take it so personal. You came across as completely hysterical in your reply to Grayson, so it’s hard to take you seriously.

            My personal experience (as a music fan, not a musician) with hundreds of their pressings (many that were simply unlistenable and had to be returned) tells me they were the worst of the worst when it comes to pressing vinyl. All of the local record store owners here are familiar with Rainbo and their poor pressing quality. They weren’t as bad when I first got into vinyl (early 2000s) but in the last five years they got worse and worse. There are so many better pressing plants out there and they won’t be missed at all.

          • Sam

            It’s the consumer who is complaining, not the companies ordering records from the plant. If you look on any record forum it is the consumer who is filing a complaint. If you can’t please the ppl buying the records well then what the hell are you making records for?

      • Michael

        Cliff… In 80 years they didn’t have the business foresight to buy their own building? That’s called mismanagement.

  5. RainboWasAJoke

    One of the worst pressing plants in the country when it came to customer service. They’d repeatedly lie about individual jobs being ready, and anyone who depended upon Rainbo to be a reliable manufacturing partner when it came to making street date soon realized there were better options available. Good riddance.

      • Adam

        Hi Erika

        Feel free to try Packaged Sounds.

        Adam at Packagedsounds dot com

      • Warren

        Erika Records is a pretty bad pressing plant too. Some better pressing plants are RTI, QRP, Third Man or Precision Record Pressing in Canada.

  6. Nicky Knight

    Well I must say I’m saddened at the venom and nastiness of some of the comments.

    I was never a client so I can’t comment on the quality but surely you could word your criticism in a more civilised and less nasty way.

    All you’re right, doesn’t have to be
    Los Angeles, there’s many other locations inside California and outside Calf that would do nicely.

    And I’m not talking about Shenzhen, that’s a long long way off LA.

  7. Damian

    That Steve guy let that company flush down the toilet. Poor management and no real leadership. Sad to all the workers there who tried to make it work who lost their jobs. Also Greyson also sucks a lot of dick at Erika lol…

    • IFR PILOT

      Steve Sheldon is one of the most knowledgeable people in the vinyl manufacturing business today. He expertise is beyond question along with his caring and concern for all his employees. If you new Steve you would know he is a man of character with a very high code of ethics. He always looked out for his clients and his staff.

  8. Jackson

    Great news!! One bad pressing plant down.
    I have learned in my vinyl collecting experience that you can better avoid this plant to avoid disappointment. usually the records were full of noise or they were warped. I had this as an exception with other plants but with rainbo it is standard.

    • IFR PILOT

      How did you know the vinyl record you were buying came from RAINBO Manufacturing ?

      • Warren

        Rainbo pressings can be identified by the deadwax runouts. Their matrix number is “S” followed by a series of numbers, such as S-12345.

  9. Santonio Echols

    Hi

    My name is Santonio Echols from Detroit. we are interested in 10 inch vinyl quotes on 200 and 300 units. No jackets or shrink wrapped and how long is your turn around time?

    Thanks

  10. Chris Neuenkirk

    Fuck ALL you Negative Juvenile Assholes! Rainbo was fine for what it was…. Not perfect, but not the worst.. my pressing of Scientist mees roots radics sounds great..