Happy Earth Day — Audiodrome is the First 100% Solar-Powered Vinyl Press in the US

Audiodrome vinyl
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Audiodrome vinyl
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Photo Credit: Amanda Bemis

Audiodrome Record Pressing, the first entirely in-house solar-powered vinyl pressing plant in the US, opens its doors in Gainesville, Florida.

Audiodrome is the project of Dave Newell and Betsy Bemis, with a holistic focus on mitigating the environmental impact of pressing records while meeting the growing demand of vinyl. The rapid regrowth of vinyl has forced production to ramp up at an accelerated rate, which has led to struggles to meet the demand coupled with costly complications associated with pressing vinyl — a process that is notoriously impactful on the environment.

“Creativity is an essential part of our humanity and there is something about vinyl records that people find meaningful,” says Bemis. “They allow us to physically participate in the experience and build a tangible connection between the artist and the listener in a way that no other format does. It can be a beautiful thing, but the environmental cost of communion doesn’t have to be so high.”

To counter the negative environmental impact of pressing vinyl, Audiodrome will utilize resources and practices, including a fully solar-powered facility with steamless record presses featuring closed-loop chiller systems. The facility will burn no fossil fuels, and will generate no boiler chemicals or runoff, with minimal water usage. The company will also make use of recycled PVC to make new records, as well as offering a “Bio-Vinyl” option that will be fully available by May 2024.

“A big part of why I wanted to start this business is to have the opportunity to work with independent artists from all over and help them bring their projects to life,” says Newell. “It can be a daunting task as an artist to get your product out into the world; not only do you have to get your music recorded, but then you need to navigate mastering, artwork, retail, and a whole host of other considerations. A lot of bands and artists don’t even know where to start.”

“On top of that, it can be hard to get smaller runs of records pressed,” Newell explains. “We are committed to making the whole process an easy, transparent, and enjoyable experience that prioritizes our independent customers and their projects.”

Audiodrome has worked with packaging companies to develop new recyclable, biodegradable, and compostable exterior packaging. They continue to research new initiatives to find more ways to further minimize their impact.

“Real change will require a willingness to evolve on everyone’s part: suppliers, presses, artists, and customers,” says Bemis. “New materials might sound, look, and feel different, but ethically we have no choice.”