Jack White is urging the three major global record labels — Sony, Universal and Warner — to rebuild their own vinyl pressing plants.
The White Stripes/Dead Weather/Raconteurs rocker’s plea comes as vinyl production turnaround time has slowed immensely amid the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing bands to delay their album releases.
“Vinyl records have exploded in the last decade, and their demand is incredibly high,” White says in a video. “A small punk band can’t get their record for eight to 10 months. I now ask the major labels…to finally build your own pressing plants again.”
He adds, “As the MC5 once said, ‘You’re either part of the problem, or part of the solution.”
In an accompanying written statement, White shares how he founded Detroit’s Third Man Pressing plant in 2017 for “anyone and everyone who walks in the door and wants to press a record.”
“In the last year, I’ve doubled down and invested in even more record presses, more employees to run them, and more shifts to try and accommodate the insane growing demand for vinyl product,” White says.
While Third Man may “benefit in the short term” from being one of the few operational pressing plants, White writes, “In the long term it ultimately hurts everyone involved in the vinyl ecosystem given the bottlenecks and delays.”
“Something needs to be done,” White says. That something, he feels, is for Sony, Universal and Warner to “help alleviate this unfortunate backlog and start dedicating resources to build pressing plants themselves.”
“The issue is not big labels versus small labels, it’s not independent versus mainstream, it’s not even punk versus pop,” White writes. “The issue is, simply, we have ALL created an environment where the unprecedented demand for vinyl records cannot keep up with the rudimentary supply of them.”
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