Sales of LPs are going up but the headache is having enough manufacturers to press them.
The resurgence of vinyl shows no sign of slowing – with UK sales up 64% to 2.1m in 2015 – but demand may yet outstrip supply.
In 2007 only 205,000 LPs were sold, but the innovation of Record Store Day in April has promoted vinyl, as has the view of rock bands such as the Arctic Monkeys that releasing an LP is “a badge of honour”.
This improbable success is placing strain on the capacity of scarce and old machinery to deliver the product. There are only 40 vinyl pressing plants left, 21 of which are in the United States. Third Man Records in Detroit, co-founded by Jack White of The White Stripes, have bought eight new presses and expect to make their first discs in spring 2016.
Gennaro Castaldo of the British Phonographic Industry says most British LPs are printed overseas, often in Eastern Europe where old machinery has been pressed back into service. He says: “My view is that there is longevity in vinyl and investing in it would be a virtuous cycle. It’s a buoyant niche.”