A 75-year-old vinyl pressing company in Nashville, Tennessee, plans to invest $10.8 million to expand its manufacturing plant to meet growing customer demand as vinyl records continue to make a comeback.
United Record Pressing will expand production capacity and improve equipment as part of the project, according to a Thursday release from the Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development. The privately held company is expected to more than double its employee headcount in Tennessee with the addition of 209 new workers to support the larger facility.
Once thought dead after the introduction of compact discs in the late 1980s, vinyl record sales have soared in the past decade as millennials and Gen Z prefer owning music on physical objects instead of digital files. Professional DJs also prefer vinyl due to its sound quality. Singer Taylor Swift released four versions of her latest album, “Midnights,” each with a different colored vinyl record.
Revenue from vinyl sales hit $1.2 billion in 2022 with 41 million units sold, passing CDs in sales in March for the first time in 35 years, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. A 1956 vinyl copy of orchestral recordings of Mozart compositions sold for $19,277 last year on Discogs, an online vinyl collectors’ site.
Vinyl record sales have also kept the music industry afloat, especially as musical artists make little money from songs available on digital music platforms, such as iTunes and Spotify.
United was founded in 1949 to press vinyl records for the Music City’s booming country music scene. Said to be the oldest and largest vinyl pressing plant in North America, the company pressed the Beatles’ first vinyl 7-inch record released in the United States, as well as singles and albums for Motown artists and Bob Dylan, among others.
United acquired the facility at 451-481 Allied Drive for $5.2 million in 2014. Its original pressing plant was located at 453 Chestnut St. in the Wedgewood district of Nashville.
The company will likely receive incentives as part of the investment though details were not disclosed.