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New releases proving difficult to obtain on vinyl record, but why?

by Ben Harding. Published Wed 27 Dec 2017 13:00

With the increasing popularity of vinyl records, Purple Revolver investigates why so many of the pressing factories have been shut down and the difficulty of finding a new release on vinyl.

Most know that due to the advancement and innovation in technology, once-popular products are sure to become outdated and unused. This was anticipated with vinyl following the CD, or compact disk.

So what was once a popular source of home listening, slowly began to die out as people turned to their CDs to hear their favourite artists at home. As the demand for vinyl records dropped, so did the supply.

With supply requirements dropping to a minimal (I remember when shops only sold CDs and vinyls were history!), many of the vinyl pressing factories where forced to shut their doors for good. This meant experienced “pressers” (if that’s what they’re called?) had to look for other work, as their field of expertise was no longer required.

That was true, at least for a decade or two. Vinyl record sales have seen a spike in the past couple of years, with the popularity rocketing and no apparent cause. When standing in independent record shops, huge varieties of people walk in and leave with a new vinyl to add to their collection.

You can see teenagers right up to seventy year olds looking for vinyls of artists they know, and artists they don’t. It’s no longer just a product for people stuck in their youth, but more a piece of history, something to add to the collection.

It makes sense that more and more modern artists are releasing their LPs on vinyl as well as CD. But what is interesting is that the limited pressing companies left can’t cope with the demand of pressing 2,000 12” vinyl’s for release at the same time as the CD due to the production lines being much smaller.

This causes problems for artists, either having to delay the release of their CD to release both the record and the CD together, or will give fans two release dates, one LP and the other CD. That’s if the artists choose to go vinyl.

When shopping around, I’ve noticed it’s only a select few artists with large fan bases, or the independent bands, that choose to go vinyl. New releases are extremely hard to get on vinyl when they’re new. Take Adele’s 25 for example, when that was released, it was only released on CD, and now, almost two years later, I’ve started seeing it appear in record shops as a vinyl.

Pressing companies need to rapidly expand to cope with the demand they never expected, whilst
fans have to wait even longer to hear their favourite artists on their vinyl player.


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