As the world once again turns fondly to vinyl for the first time since the 80s, the landscape of physical music ownership is changing rapidly. With demand comes supply, but when the amount of buyers far outweighs those crafting a product, what goes wrong?
There are a few facilities in Australia that press vinyl, but only one dedicated plant in Zenith Records, located in East Brunswick, Melbourne (possibly the heart of Australia’s vinyl craze). With vinyl selling by the thousands every day, how can a few plants hope to match the output they’re being asked to cater to?
Why does Australia only have one dedicated vinyl pressing plant in Zenith Records? If the craze continues, the current facilities won’t be able to keep up.
As we’ve investigated before, there’s more to the vinyl resurgence than meets the eye. The current lack of homegrown pressing facilities can commonly lead to massive delivery delays, usually at the peril of smaller artists and indie labels.
When everything from Pink Floyd reissues to special editions of the Stranger Things soundtrack undergoing high-copy runs, the vinyl warriors pressing the wax become inundated with more commercial products while the emerging talent pressing 50 copies of their debut EP might have to wait 12 to 15 weeks or longer for their order.
In the current high-output release culture, that can break a new band in half.
The other option is outsourcing pressing overseas, which both removes cashflow from the Australian market and dissuades local enthusiasts from entering the game themselves.
Which is why Zenith are fighting the good fight. A dedication to your craft is something remarkable and relatable, and while every other vinyl facility in Australia is the offshoot of some form of printing company, these guys are making it work by printing records, and nothing else.
While the multi-faceted printing plants largely do a fantastic job at keeping up with printing demands, the truth of the matter is that ordering a run of vinyl from a non-dedicated facility is like asking your guitarist to play bass. If you have the option to get a purist on the job, why would you choose anything else?
As much as anyone, we want to see vinyl take its place as the king of the physical formats. Keep on supporting the legends behind the scenes, and the homegrown Aussie wax will be back on top in no time.
Record Store Day is almost here! Check out the full list of RSD 2017 exclusives here.