The vinyl record maker produced 6.5 million records in 2021.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis is known for its music and the legendary artists the city continues to produce, but Bluff City is making a name for itself in the vinyl record industry thanks to Memphis record hurry.
Memphis Record Pressing is one of the nation’s largest vinyl record manufacturers. They have produced 6.5 million of the 41.5 million records made in 2021.
Vinyl records have become so popular again that the current building feels a little cramped, and Memphis Record Pressing is ramping up production with a big expansion.
In the age of digital streaming and downloads, there’s something about owning a disc that stands the test of time.
Memphis Record Pressing chief operating officer Mark Yoshida said it was because of two things: collection and experience.
“The album cover is a work of art. So the collection is there, the experience is that you have to be in a room, you have to kind of slow down your life, you have to have a turntable and that’s is more of a social thing,” Yoshida said.
Memphis Record Pressing started as a CD manufacturer in 1997, but when digital downloads became a major player around 2008, founders Mark Yoshida and Brandon Seavers quickly discovered they had to change direction.
“At that point we just started to see a resurgence in vinyl records, it was kind of surprising not knowing where that was going to take us. We just felt like it was really as a manufacturer, there was no other format available”, Yoshida mentioned.
The company bought a bunch of old presses in 2014 and at first there was a learning curve with the new equipment.
It was a totally different animal,” Yoshida said. “Because in the CD industry, the equipment, you buy it, you plug it in and you start making records, and it’s all computer controlled. With vinyl, they were analog mechanical machines, and it was more of an art to try to make them work.”
The demand for vinyl records has exploded. MRP produced 880,000 records in its first year. In 2022, they predict 11 million and said demand means it’s time to expand.
“The capacity needs are incredible with all the big labels, indie labels, indie artists, everybody now wanting vinyl records, so and it doesn’t seem like they’re slowing down at all, we’re pretty much full all throughout this year,” Yoshida said.
MRP adds two buildings. A 33,000 square foot space will add 36 disc presses to their capacity, giving them a total of 54 presses. This one is adjacent to their facility in Bartlett. Another 100,000 square foot facility in Memphis will handle packaging and logistics. In total, a $28.8 million expansion will allow MRP to produce 125,000 records per day.
The company has received funding in lieu of taxes (PILOT) from the cities of Bartlett and Memphis. The funding will save Memphis Record Pressing approximately $2.8 million over the next 10 years.
In a city known for its stars, MRP is putting its own stamp on Memphis’ musical notoriety.
“Obviously you and Elvis have Stax and so many different things, so I’m proud to be a part of that and hopefully we can add to Memphis’ legacy,” Yoshida said.
Memphis Record Pressing said their new press facility should be ready by September while the packaging plant will open in June 2023.
They currently employ around 200 people and plan to hire over 250 new employees.