For more than a decade and a half, vinyl albums have been enjoying a renaissance, especially among younger music fans.
According to the Recording Industry Association of America's 2022 end-of-year report, vinyl records (41 million units) outsold CDs (33 million units) for the first time since 1987. Record sales last year spiked 17 percent to $1.2 billion, the 16th consecutive year of growth for the vinyl format.
Vinyl accounted for nearly 71 percent of physical music format revenues, per RIAA data.
As well, entertainment industry data platform Luminate reported last year that Gen Z music listeners are 27 percent more likely to purchase a vinyl record than the average listener and found the average vinyl listener spends 109 percent more on music monthly than the average listener.
"Do all those people have turntables and listen to the vinyl? Probably not so much," Paulin said. "But it's not just the music. It's the cover art, the label on the record, having information like who was the mix engineer, who was the drummer, what instrument was used. It's something that's missing in the digital Spotify world now."
Noting the endless possibilities that come with lathe-cut records, Paulin has the ability to make albums of all sizes and colors and "they all have their own unique sound," creating one-of-a-kind recordings.
Paulin aims to start producing albums in less than three weeks at a rate of around 50 per day. He's also looking for a new space to move his recording operation, which currently operates out of his home.
"It's definitely our goal to become an actual facility and host people to come watch their records get cut," he said.
He plans to market his service to artists in the Midwest and throughout the Great Lakes region, using his connections as an audio engineer to find signed and independent artists who are looking for individualized albums. He also envisions his label working with independent artists around the Great Lakes region.
Since he will create each record by hand, Paulin has no minimum order for albums, making his service accessible for small artists. By comparison, commercial vinyl production facilities require minimum orders in the thousands of units, a difficult investment for many smaller artists.
"The vinyl machine is another way of giving power back to the independent artist. If you're an independent artist, it's almost impossible to get a record [pressed]," Paulin said. "Grand Rapids has its own vibrant vinyl scene with two big record stores and it'd be nice to see local talent have their own vinyl in there."