A new vinyl record pressing plant has opened in the UK to meet record-high demands for physical music.
Vinyl sales in the UK were up more than 8% in 2021. But an increase in demand and the rising cost of materials has led to delays at most vinyl pressing plants. That has led to a shortage of vinyl editions, driving up their price for collectors.
Press-On Vinyl in Middlesbrough says it hopes to produce 50,000 records a month. It will focus on helping artists in the UK but has promised to share its capacity throughout the independent music industry. “Middlesbrough is everything we are about,” says Press-On’s Managing Director Danny Lowe. “We all care passionately about the area. It’s important here.”
Forty years ago, RCA Records produced records in the area for artists like Elvis Presley and David Bowie. “We have a rich heritage and rich history of manufacturing and creativity in the industry here, whether it’s chemicals or pottery and now computer games. We are proud of that and proud to be a part of it,” Lowe told the BBC.
The new vinyl record pressing plant is one of only a handful left in the UK. Most records are manufactured in mainland Europe, but demand has been outstripping supply since vinyl’s revival. Press-On says the first record off of its production line is a debut EP by Teesside band Komparrison, which will be released later this year.
“It’s crazy,” says Komparrison singer Elise Harrison. “To see it physically happening here sets in stone how lucky we all are as a band to have this opportunity.” The BBC reports that one in four albums sold in the UK last year were on vinyl.
That’s the highest sales the format has enjoyed in more than 30 years, according to figures by BPI. ABBA’s Voyage was the fast-selling vinyl release of the century, moving 30,000 LPs in the first week of availability. Adele, Amy Winehouse, Fleetwood Mac, Wolf Alice, and Sam Fender have the highest vinyl sales in the UK.