As the vinyl boom continues, Unified MFG helps independent artists catch up

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California-based manufacturer intends to make vinyl sustainable, both for artists and for the environment

Posted on October 15, 2021

No, the peak of the vinyl record resurgence did not happen when even Sears (RIP) started selling Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors LP – the biggest sonic boom is happening right now, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), vinyl record sales in the United States increased nearly 30% in 2020. In 2021, record sales are expected to exceed CD sales for the first time since the late 1980s.

This unprecedented demand, along with supply chain disruptions and rising manufacturing prices, has created a global vinyl shortage. The price of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) from which recordings are made climbed 70% during the pandemic [via the Associated Press], the use of this material in the manufacture of certain medical devices contributing to its growing shortages.

The market is also oversaturated with demand and unable to meet supply needs. In an article for DigitalMusicNews, Jeremy Pafford, Head of Independent Commodity Intelligence Services for North America, said: “There is nothing wrong [with the vinyl market]. It’s kinda crazy: something’s wrong, it gets better, then something else happens. And it’s been like that since the start of the pandemic. “

In 2020, the new professional association Vinyl Alliance identified the disruption of the supply chain as the biggest problem facing the industry. Early last year, there was also a devastating fire at Apollo Masters Corp, a California-based company that is one of two suppliers to the world of master lacquer needed for pressing records. Previously, they supplied 80 percent of the lacquer masters, leaving the remaining small Japanese company as the sole manufacturer.

Taylor Swift smashes vinyl sales records with the pressing of her pandemic second album always, corn independent discs a lot cooler than hers of independent artists and labels are really getting the end of the stick – to the point that some are turning away from the format, according to one report by Fork. They had no choice, with pressing turnaround times ranging from eight months to one year, against two to three months of declining demand. (Additionally, musicians are already struggling to generate a stable income with still fragile tours and a lack of government support.)

Unified MFG strives to reverse this trend. The California-based vinyl / CD maker is cutting that wait time in half, while offering additional discounts to independent labels and artists. Even in these unprecedented difficult times, their wait times are 18-19 weeks; less than five months. The estimated cost for their minimum order of 100 units of custom vinyl records is US $ 1,850 – the same direct factory prices given to major labels, satisfaction guaranteed or money back.

They are able to offer these prizes because of the money they save on advertising to the general public. Obviously the word has spread again: Unified MFG has produced projects for superstar clients like Beyonce, DMX, Slayer, Megan Thee Stallion, Ringo Starr, Barack Obama, Stevie Wonder, Sheryl Crow and Rob Zombie.

Founded in 2007 by CEO James Hill, a music industry veteran with past gigs at Warner Reprise Records and Interscope / Geffen, the company bypasses the vinyl industry’s shattered supply chain by being a one-stop shop unique. They do everything in-house and effectively cut out the middleman. Vinyl pressing is also just one of the services available alongside CD and DVD manufacturing, short term custom packaging, t-shirt and poster printing, and more.

Unified MFG makes high quality, durable products – with proper care you can play a vinyl record 1,000 times. But what really sets them apart is their dedication to building brands for artists, which they see as a collaborative process. As a customer, they allow you to articulate your artistic vision with a fully customizable and easy to use online ordering system. You can articulate your artistic vision without compromising any of the specifications; choose everything from colors to jackets and sleeves to weight.

The steps are easy to follow and you can quickly receive a free and instant quote for your order. Responsive customer service representatives are able to assist you through the entire process – from placing your order to receiving and approving your press tests to receiving the final product for your enthusiastic fans.

And they are also dedicated to being environmentally friendly. Unified MFG makes everything with 100% wind power and uses soy-based inks, and they donate a portion of their annual profits to environmental organizations.

A lot of innovation is still needed to find more environmentally friendly materials to use and to develop new ways of producing vinyl – like the eight Dutch companies working on the Green Vinyl Records initiative, seeking to create recyclable discs based on an injection molding principle instead of squeezing, reducing energy consumption by up to 70 percent – but Unified MFG is at the forefront of the industry for a raison. They understand consumer values ​​and strive for sustainability even before new technologies enable complete transformation.

They know people still want physical music media – and although digital audio files seem virtual to us, there are infrastructures for storing, processing and transmitting data that potentially have higher greenhouse gas emissions. as the carcinogens of PVC. Streaming always contributes to our carbon footprint, whether or not the waste is so immediate on the surface. Unified MFG allows your music to leave a lasting imprint for years to come.


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