One of my most unusual – and maybe most valuable – was a promotional copy of Led zeppelin’s STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN.
At one point, my records took up the entire floor of one room in our basement. When some of the records in the corner started to mildew, I decided it was time to sell. But I started again. And again.
Now I see the Beatle’s are back on vinyl, along with more modern artists. The temptation to start collection number five is intense. So, far, I have resisted. Hastings is a great temptation, but you can also get the new pressings on-line. You have to really look close to see these are re-issues.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL – December 11, 2014
Nearly eight million old-fashioned vinyl records have been sold (in 2014), up 49% from the same period (a year earlier). Younger people, especially indie-rock fans, are buying records in greater numbers, attracted to the perceived superior sound quality of vinyl and the ritual of putting needle to groove.
But while new LPs hit stores each week, the creaky machines that make them haven’t been manufactured for decades, and just one company supplies an estimated 90% of the raw vinyl that the industry needs. As such, the nation’s 15 or so still-running factories that press records face daily challenges with breakdowns and supply shortages.
. . . .Robert Roczynski ’s dozen employees work overtime at a small factory in Hamden, Conn., to make parts for U.S. record makers struggling to keep abreast of the revived interest in LPs. Mr. Roczynski’s firm says orders for steel molds, which give records their flat, round shape, have tripled since 2008.
. . . .Many producers, including the largest, United Record Pressing in Nashville, Tenn., are adding presses, but there has yet to be a big move by entrepreneurs to inject capital and confidence into this largely artisanal industry. Investors aren’t interested in sinking serious cash into an industry that represents 2% of U.S. music sales.
Record labels are waiting months for orders that used to get filled in weeks. That is because pressing machines spit out only around 125 records an hour. To boost production, record factories are running their machines so hard—sometimes around the clock—they have to shell out increasing sums for maintenance and repairs.
Large orders from superstars create bottlenecks, while music fans search the bins in vain for new releases by The War on Drugs, a Philadelphia indie group, or French electronic duo Daft Punk. More requests for novelty LPs—multi-colored, scented, glow-in-the-dark—gum things up further.
Nick Blandford, managing director of Secretly Group, a family of independent labels, in Bloomington, Ind., is putting in orders now to make sure his artists’ LPs are in stores for next year’s “Record Store Day” in April.
To get more machines, record-plant owners have been scouring the globe for mothballed presses, snapping them up for $15,000 to $30,000, and plunking down even more to refurbish them.
. . . (Robert) Roczynski has been in the business since age 16, when he began working at his father’s company. In 1946, Mr. Roczynski’s father, Stanley, was tapped by CBS Records, which pressed records at America’s first LP plant in Bridgeport, Conn., to design equipment. The elder Mr. Roczynski eventually made record equipment the main focus at his factory.
Some 50 years later, Mr. Roczynski is acting as an equipment broker to connect people seeking old machines to those unloading them, for a fee—though it is getting harder to find anything usable. Since Mr. Roczynski has no one to pass Record Products to, he’ll probably sell when he retires—but he says he wants to stay on as a consultant for a while.
“We’ve done all the work,” he says. “Why throw it away?”