Welcome to Making Vinyl

By Conference Chairs Bryan Ekus and Larry Jaffee

You can’t make this stuff up.

Home entertainment format gets quickly replaced by supposed advanced technologies in fast succession (i.e., Compact Disc, digital downloads, and streaming), only to re-emerge as a deluxe product that consumers are willing today to pay twice as much for a newly pressed vinyl record than they did for a CD!?!

Yes, that sums up vinyl’s comeback, although it doesn’t acknowledge that it never really went away, thanks to old-school DJs spinning dance records, purists with their thousand-dollar-plus stereos catered to by a handful of audiophile labels, and flea-market crate diggers looking for collectibles. One person’s trash is another’s treasure, indeed.

Nor does all the commercial activity surrounding vinyl – a $1 billion global business, estimates Deloitte – give enough credit to the dozen or so pressing plants around the world that never quite gave up manufacturing records with their antiquated equipment.

But Vinyl 2.0 is not your father’s record business. New machinery and materials suppliers have perfected nearly century-old processes with higher yields, sustainability and better-sounding records!

It’s no wonder that for the past two months since the conference began taking registrations, a week didn’t go by that we learned of a new pressing plant already operational or soon to be online.

Making Vinyl is bringing together the great minds all along the vinyl value chain – from the manufacturers to the mastering facilities to the plater/stamper makers and lathe cutters to the labels and indie retailers – who perhaps didn’t have the opportunity to meet each other person previously.

We’ve gathered in this great music city of Detroit – the culture that produced MOTOWN and its stellar artist roster in the 1960s, as well as everyone from John Lee Hooker, Bob Seger and Iggy & The Stooges to Madonna and The White Stripes – to celebrate the rebirth of the global record manufacturing.

We especially thank Detroit Favorite Son Jack White for opening up his spanking new Third Man Pressing to all Making Vinyl delegates, and especially TMP’s Ben Blackwell and Roe Peterhans for helping us figure out the logistics, and making available other TMP staff for the panel sessions. You guys are the best!

It takes a village to mount a first-time event like this one, but we’d remiss not to acknowledge Rainbo Records and Colonial Purchasing Co-op board member Steve Sheldon for his guidance and encouragement in getting the ball rolling, as well as Michael Kurtz and Carrie Colliton for coming up with Record Store Day. Without RSD, you probably wouldn’t be reading this Making Vinyl program guide.

We’re already planning future editions of this event. We have no doubt this fascinating industry is only getting started.