Part One: Pressing Vinyl for Indie, Major Artists
With a music industry boom expected in 2021, artists are looking for new and creative ways to not only promote their material but sell it as well. And so, these companies harbor creative outlets for unique promotion using an old-school method: vinyl records.
United Record Pressing
Founded in 1949, the Nashville-based company has been in operation for over 70 years and has been used by the likes of Bob Dylan and Jay-Z. They offer a wide range of services including lacquer mastering, electroplating and vinyl pressing of 7″, 10″, and 12″ records.
In addition, they also manage URP Distribution, which oversees over 130,000 record releases and are an official distributor for Record Store Day (which will be held on June 12.) Warner Music Group (WMG), Universal Music Group, and The Orchard all work with them and many independent record labels also release their titles through URP’s services. Needless to say, this company will not be running out of work anytime soon.
To find out more, click on the link.
Leesta Vall Sound Recordings
Principal session producer Aaron Zimmer founded this unique recording studio after years of touring and performing.
A niche record label in Brooklyn, NY, they premiere new music exclusively through vinyl. However, their approach to record-making is very different: Their Direct-to-Vinyl Live Sessions Project, which involves artists recording live music onto the record itself, has garnered interest from many indie bands both in the area and beyond. And in July 2020, they began the Shut-In Sessions in response to COVID-19. This was created to provide a way for music to still be promoted in the absence of live entertainment. With this project, artists can create records in the comfort of their own homes while still being able to earn revenue for themselves.
Some of their services, in addition to being an independent record label, include promotion of records and live sessions on their website.
Cascade Record Pressing
This Seattle-based company is the first automated large-scale record production processing plant in the Pacific Northwest. Preceded by Morrison Records, they are dedicated to quality content for artists and listeners alike.
Some of their services include lacquer mastering and cutting, working with Telegraph Mastering to make their pieces work. They also include pressing; using a high-quality electroplating process, lacquers are placed in a tin bath before being stamped as the A and B sides we all know and love. In each of their process explanations, the company also offers tips and recommendations on do’s and don’ts when it comes to independent pressing.
When it comes to having a quality records, they are dedicated to making records sound great and last for years on end. For more information, visit their website here.
Furnace Record Pressing
Alexandria, Virginia has been the home of this company since 1996. And with a kick-ass lineup of executives, they put their 24 years of experience into high gear (No kidding: Their production manager, Emma Reiter, is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and is an awesome mom of two doggos acting like the place is theirs.)
What they have to offer is pretty expansive. Aside from producing record sizes ranging from 7″ to 12″, they can also come in custom special effect colors like color-in-color orcolor-stripes, and impressive picture discs that will probably make you want to hang it up rather than play it on a turntable. They also offer print and packaging extras like posters and lyric sheets. With limited edition records, they make them extra special with hand-stamped foil numbering.
For more information, visit their website here.
Independent Record Pressing
The last one on our list was started in 2015 by David Hansen (formerly an employee of Epitaph, for all you hard-core fans out there,) Darius Van Arman, and Ben and Chris Swansen (from the Secretly Group). Based in Bordentown, NJ, these guys have a vision to help and support indie artists and labels with distributing their music.
Their resume is impressive, with projects from Queens of the Stone Age, Phoebe Bridgers and Brittany Howard. In addition to quality pressed records, they come in a variety of colors including Red Nebula, Silver Countertop, and Summer Sky Wave. During the process, the company gives you online updates on where the record is and when it will be finished. They can also assemble the record with supplies from the artist or complete the assembly themselves.
For more information, visit this website to learn more.
So, to all the artists out there looking for the next big promotion, these companies may be useful to consider the next time you want to hear your sound on a turntable.