“Devastating” Manufacturing Plant Fire Threatens Worldwide Vinyl Record Supply
Vinyl Record Production in Peril After Fire at California Plant
Vinyl Record Industry Fears ‘Vinylgeddon’ After Fire Burns Down Apollo Masters Plant
These are just a few of the headlines of articles covering the disastrous fire which happened at Apollo Masters in Banning, USA. Unfortunately their entire production facility has gone up in flames, and so has their stock of lacquers and styli as far as we know.
Many concerned customers contacted us to ask if Record Industry will be affected by this as well. As there are only two companies in the world which produce lacquers, it will ultimately have consequences for the availability of lacquers and perhaps also vinyl production in general. Some cutting rooms that rely on Apollo lacquers will not be able to provide cuts to pressing plants in the long run unless they can purchase MDC lacquers. It remains to be seen how MDC will deal with the increased demand and whether they can meet this. Little is known about their capacity.
No consequences for Record Industry for now, we still have enough lacquers on stock. We have been working for years with both MDC and Apollo lacquers which we purchase from suppliers with whom we have built up long time relationships, we are not worried about not being able to get enough MDC lacquers supplied. We cut a significant part of our production on copper, DMM, which we produce in-house. No matter what happens, our production will continue to operate. We do not expect longer production times or any other delays caused by this disastrous fire.
Whether new initiatives are emerging or perhaps Apollo will restart, time will tell but of course we hope so. We wish our friends from Apollo lots of strength and courage to overcome this disaster.
Rough Trade: We’re selling more records than ever.
By Robert PlummerBusiness reporter, BBC News
At the Rough Trade East record shop in London’s Brick Lane, a man dressed as a giant hot dog is on stage introducing a song.
“Put your hands up if you’re afraid of spiders,” says frontman Murray Matravers of fast-rising band Easy Life, before launching into one of their typically quirky compositions.
Easy Life’s in-store live appearance has attracted a throng of enthusiastic teenage fans, all clutching newly purchased copies of their new album, Junk Food. The majority of the audience pre-ordered the album online and admission to the gig is included in the price.
Perhaps you thought young people didn’t buy records and CDs? Or that streaming is killing the physical album? Well, welcome to the new reality of music retail.
“The idea that physical and digital are incompatible, I think, is outdated,” says the shop’s assistant manager, Alex Bailey. “We’re selling more records now than we ever have.”
Rather than seeing digital music as the enemy, Rough Trade embraces podcasts and playlists, keeps a keen eye out for new talent and promotes its stores as community hubs.
The Rough Trade Edit podcast, newly launched in the past week, is billed as “your first stop for new music”, featuring staff picks, recommended albums and guest appearances by bands.
Customers who visit Rough Trade shops are also invited to sign up to its Rough Trade Edit playlist on the Apple Music platform.
“We proudly and warmly endorse streaming as an affordable way to discover and enjoy music, it being very much a driver of vinyl sales,” says Rough Trade Retail director Stephen Godfroy. “If someone develops a love for a recording, the best way to cherish that is to follow up the discovery by owning and enjoying it on vinyl.”
Thanks to a mini-tour of Rough Trade shops, including the chain’s outlets in Bristol and Nottingham, Easy Life have sold enough physical albums to earn them a place in the top 10 albums of the week.
And many of the people singing along with the band’s songs at Rough Trade East have travelled specially to London for the performance.
Receptionist Conor Austin and waitress Rebecca Foulger have come up to town for the day from their home town of Sandwich, in Kent.
Conor, 18, explains that he got a record player for Christmas and is keen to expand his vinyl collection, even though he has Spotify on his phone. “I think it sounds different, it’s a different sort of vibe,” he says.
Rebecca, 17, bought the CD to listen to in her car. “I don’t have Spotify Premium, so I get all the ads,” she says. “It’s easier to have just CDs.”
As the runner-up artists in the BBC’s Sound of 2020 poll, Easy Life are still building their fanbase, and Murray Matravers, speaking before donning his hot dog suit, sees Rough Trade as the ideal place to do it.
“People go to Rough Trade just to see what’s happening, and nine times out of 10, they curate a really good record,” he says. “In this shop, there will be at least 20 or 30 people who have no idea who we are and who are hearing us for the first time.”
The MP3 and Apple’s iPod were already dealing a decisive blow to physical music formats and many record shops were closing down.
But more than a decade later, business is booming. “I’m pleased to say that Rough Trade is positively thriving, with our like-for-like 2019 UK sales up 25% overall,” says Mr Godfroy.
Vinyl is Rough Trade’s top seller these days, accounting for three-quarters of all sales. “Rough Trade can represent 75% of total release week vinyl sales for a top 10 UK album chart entry, with just four stores and roughtrade.com,” Mr Godfroy adds.
Even so, Rough Trade East’s Alex Bailey says CDs still have their market.
“We’ve got a few customers that will come in without fail every Friday and buy a pile of CDs,” he says. “I notice that more than with people coming in to get vinyl releases. CDs are still a viable product, 100%.”
Rough Trade seems to be riding high at the moment, but can its success last?
Mr Godfroy freely admits that his stores are “not emblematic of wider music retail” and that the chain occupies a “unique position” in a “very cautious, very fragmented, very distorted” retail climate.
But according to music industry observer Graham Jones, of Proper Music, who has written two books about record shops and the vinyl revival, Rough Trade is still the benchmark by which other shops are judged.
After the publication of his book Last Shop Standing, Mr Jones says he was approached by a number of people who wanted to ask him about opening a record shop.
“My advice was always, ‘Go and visit some other shops,'” he says. “But the one I always advised them to visit was Rough Trade. As a model, they’re the best. They’re the ones you should definitely seek out before you open a record shop.”
In Mr Jones’s view, Rough Trade has flourished because “they’ve managed to stay fashionable – they’re an independent brand that music fans like to be associated with”.
But as he recalls, Virgin Records in the 1970s enjoyed similar cachet as a hip place to go before it expanded and lost that insider status.
As long as Rough Trade has its integrity, its place in people’s affections seems assured. But credibility is hard to win and easy to lose – a truth that must surely weigh on Mr Godfroy’s mind as he steers Rough Trade Retail through a changing music industry landscape.
La llegada de los formatos de audio digitales hace ya unas décadas, las descargas de MP3 y el streaming, auguraba la extinción de los formatos físicos de audio. Como ocurre con el DVD y el Blu-ray en el ámbito de la imagen. Pero nunca digas nunca jamás. El formato físico vuelve con fuerza en la música. El streaming sigue creciendo sin parar, pero los vinilos y los CDs se niegan a morir. La víctima puede ser las descargas digitales de música.
Esta semana la Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), la asociación de la industria musical americana, ha comunicado que por primera vez desde 1986, los vinilos han vendido más que los CDs en 2019, culminando un crecimiento que no ha dejado de aumentar en los últimos 15 años. Es una noticia que nos llega vía TICbeat.
Solo en la primera mitad de 2019, la venta de vinilos creció un 12,9% con respecto al año anterior. En Estados Unidos se vendieron más de 10 millones de vinilos, nueve veces más que en 2010. En el Reino Unido se superaron los 4,3 millones, con 12 años seguidos de crecimiento en ventas.
Y ojo, que no solo el vinilo vive una segunda juventud. En el Reino Unido también se vendieron más de 89.000 copias de música en cinta de casette.
¿Por qué esta imprevisible vuelta de un formato con casi 70 años de antigüedad? Hay un componente de rebelión ante lo intagible y superficial que suponen los formatos digitales. Mucha gente tiene la sensación de que pagar por el streaming es pagar por humo, no lo sientes como algo tuyo, que lo has comprado. El streaming también representa la cultura de usar y tirar: pagas muy poco por millones de temas musicales o miles de películas y series, y acabas consumiendo sin parar. Ves o escuchas algo y a la semana siguiente ni te acuerdas de lo que era.
Pero no es una simple cuestión de añoranza del formato físico. Si así fuese, los melómanos volverían al CD. Sin embargo, las ventas de CDs siguen cayendo año tras año, también en 2019, la más baja de las últimas décadas.
La vuelta del vinilo tiene un componente nostálgico indudable, pero también es una vuelta a lo analógico. El streaming ha empeorado la calidad musical con sus codecs de compresión para que los ficheros musicales ocupen poco. El sonido analógico que proporciona la aguja del tocadiscos raspando suavemente el disco de vinilo suena diferente, más auténtico y profundo para muchas personas, y por eso las ventas de vinilos no dejan de crecer.
Pero los árboles no deben impedirnos ver el bosque. Los vinilos crecen, es cierto, pero la suma de las ventas de vinilos, CDs, y descargas musicales apenas llegan al 20% de los ingresos de la industria musical. El 80% corresponde al streaming, que se ha convertido en el gran monopolizador de la industria musical, creciendo un 5% con respecto al año anterior.
Clone Records and Record Industry join forces to create this unique direct-to-disc event.
For this one off special we’ve asked Legowelt and Nadia Struiwigh to perform live at the Artone Studio located in the Record Industry pressing plant in Haarlem. Both will bring their hardware setups for the performance and it will be cut straight from the studio floor onto lacquer. A very limited run of the record will be produced and available at the Clone Pop-up Store located at Westergasterrein that same weekend!
The Artone studio has a live room and a mastering space designed for live performances. A state of the art, high fidelity, live recording space utilizing high-quality modern and vintage analog recording and mastering techniques and equipment.
There will be room for a small audience to witness this process live. A must see for the true vinyl afficionado! Please note that this is an invite only event, but will be streamed live here for everyone to see!
Some new release from our friends at Music On Vinyl (www.musiconvinyl.com). Charles Aznavour, Huey Lewis And The News, Catherine Wheel, Rotterdam Airlines, Sly & The Revolutionaries, The Heptones, Wallace Collection and Dolly Parton.