By Michael Fremer, Analog Planet
“Are you going?”
“That’s what I was going to ask you! Are you?”
“I don’t know. Who are these people?”
“I don’t know. Never heard of them.”
“I might go in case it’s good, just not sure.”
“Me too. They’re claiming pressing plant owners will be flying in from around the world.”
“Yeah, I read that. Do you believe it? I find that highly suspicious. Why would they fly all the way to Detroit not knowing who or what they’ll find there?”
“Just heard some confirmed names. If they’re going so will I.”
And so, the unlikely came to pass November 6th and 7th, 2017: the first “Making Vinyl” B2B conference dedicated to an even more unlikely event – the rebirth of the global vinyl manufacturing business.
Every year the vinyl haters keep hating and predicting the vinyl resurgence will soon end. A Wall Street Journal reporter last years famously wrote that no one will invest in new record presses because they are too expensive, so the clogged pressing pipeline and the long waits for records will doom the industry. Wrong.
You’ve heard all the reasons why vinyl sales must soon slide like “kids just buy records to hang on the wall.” Yet they continue to grow, which is not to say the industry, like all businesses, doesn’t face its share of problems.
“Making Vinyl 2017” was the first opportunity for the worldwide “vinyl community” to gather and discuss successes and concerns, opportunities and roadblocks. Attendees representing the vinyl mastering, pressing, packaging distribution and retail sectors as well as folks from the indie and “major” labels participated in well-attended panel discussions as well as an informal but very useful “meet and greet” socializing and networking.
Rivals broke bread. Audiophile attendees learned that not all vinyl enthusiasts care about sound quality. Other vinyl fans learned what it was to be an audiophile. Statistics and databases were divulged, dreamers guided on a clear path towards opening a new pressing plant or getting involved in another aspect of this unlikely “growth industry.”
Awards were presented, inspirational speeches given, field trips taken and off-site parties thrown. In the conference’s final few hours, wherever you turned and whomever you asked, all said “Making Vinyl 2017” had been a spectacular, well-organized success and that they’d return in 2018.
Here we are again!
Michael Fremer is the Editor of analogplanet.com, a senior contributing editor at Stereophile magazine and contributing editor at Sound & Vision magazine