Jack White, the musician behind the White Stripes, multiple collaborations with other artists and Third Man Records, is calling for the music industry to significantly invest in presses to make vinyl records.
While music fans have rediscovered vinyl records, the manufacturing capabilities behind those records has been struggling. First there weren't many viable manufacturers of record presses. Then in early 2020, Apollo Masters Corp., the California supplier of lacquer to make discs, sustained a massive fire. That was followed by vinyl shortages from materials firms after storms on the Gulf Coast.
As a result, White says in a statement from Third Man, it takes nearly nine months to go from producing the music in a studio to having it available for buyers.
Third Man opened its own vinyl pressing operations in 2017.
"And in the last year, I've doubled down and invested in even more record presses, more employees to run them and more shifts to try and accommodate the insane growing demand for vinyl product," White said.
But while that may mean good business for White and Third Man, the industry is suffering. It is time, he said, for major music labels such as Sony, Universal and Warner to invest in their own presses.
"To be clear, the issue is not big labels vs. small labels, it's not independent vs. mainstream, it's not even punk vs. pop," White said. "The issue is, simply, we have all created an environment where the unprecedented demand for vinyl records cannot keep up with the rudimentary supply of them."