The return of vinyl

The vinyl retail market has ceased to be a mainstay for the most romantic music after being overtaken by CDs in 1986, their inexorable rise stream As the main form of music consumption, it has reduced the physical format to a niche for music lovers. Vinyl could have regained the lead in physical music sales in 2019, after ending the first six months of the year with sales of $199.5 million in the United States, which is almost $220.7 million according to the CD industry conforms to the Record Industry Association of America.

The situation for vinyl is also encouraging in Spain. According to data from Deloitte and Promusicae, 700,000 records were sold in 2017, a 39% year-on-year growth and a five-fold increase on 2012 sales. That said, there’s still a lot of room to grow beyond national borders, as vinyl still accounts for 25% of the physical market for music sales, in contrast to the reality of the North American market.

To meet this growing demand, Press play vinyl He has been making records from the province of Vizcaya for almost a year. The brand manager Alain Consonicommemorates the birth of the initiative as a “way to diversify” outside the sector of the Tecasa Group, the parent company, a company dedicated to the manufacture of electromechanical elements for 40 years.

“When I looked at several studies between 2016 and 2017, it struck me how presses for making records were being made again, because sales have increased by up to 20 or 30% year-on-year every year since 2005. We did a market study at national level, focusing in particular on medium and large record companies, although later we found that there was more market and we found that there was indeed interest,” explains Consonni.

Thinking about the reasons for vinyl’s resurgence, the exec attributes it to the boom in music consumption on platforms like Spotify or Apple Music, “which is taking the market away from everything else, including downloads. When it comes to physical format, people choose because they want something collectible, and vinyl beats CD because it offers more options. It’s bigger, the design is much prettier, recording a record and playing it becomes a ritual…it’s better for those who want to be in direct contact with the music.”

Although the idea was born three years ago, the company was only able to start production six months ago. Blame it on finding the necessary equipment – finding new presses wasn’t easy and they had to search the market in Sweden, Germany or Canada – and the refurbishment of the warehouse where the factory is located, factors where they around 500,000 euros invested. “The entire system is dimensioned in such a way that the machine park can be further expanded in the short to medium term in order to cover the needs of the market,” he explains.

A quality and personalized service to compete with the big ones

Even though Europe’s major record manufacturers are based in the Czech Republic – GZ Media has 25 years of experience in the industry – the manager isn’t too concerned about the competition from the giants, as the brand’s value lies in offering quality and highly personalized service for his customers. “We take care of the whole process, so that the group or label sends us the music and the covers and boxes of 25 or 50 discs leave our factory already finished,” explains Consonni. In addition, Press Play Vinyl tries to adapt its prices to the market, although it is difficult to compete against the multinationals. Ordering 1,000 12-inch records from their website currently costs around 2,000 euros.

Under this formula, Press Play Vinyl has already produced vinyl for some of the country’s most important artists and record labels, such as The killer swingAna Curra (formerly from Alaska and the Pegamoids) or the Basque rock band cortatu. The latest title from Reykjavik606 – reviewed by the magazine sound world for best national electronic music album of 2019 — or a vinyl reissue of a solo album by the singer Fermin Muguruza.

In the first six months of its existence, the company has produced more than 50,000 discs of 100 different references, and their growth is counted by months. The aim is therefore to quadruple the numbers over the next four years. For now, the goal for this year is to leave the Spanish borders. “We are preparing for internationalization. Tecasa has experience in this and, taking advantage of the parent company, we work with some Latin American and European countries,” he explains. Alain Consoni, who need to double business operations and hire more staff. “Right now we’re working six people on one shift, and there are plans to expand the workforce to two shifts during 2020,” he says.

Still, Consonni is cautious about the company’s immediate future: “It’s reasonable to assume that at some point growth won’t be as great as it is now, but we believe there’s still years left for that to happen. It will stabilize and be more of a niche business. In this market segment, we are counting on the vinyl record as the winner, ahead of all other physical carriers,” predicts the company’s managing director.