'Vinyl Rules!' at Nashville's United Record Pressing
A banner hanging in United Record Pressing's shipping room gives a peek at what the Nashville company hopes for its future:
''Vinyl Rules! Pure analog, anti-digital revolution.''
Today's youth, with their compact discs and MP3 players, may know little of their lower-tech predecessors unless their baby boomer parents pulled the black discs from a dusty bin somewhere and spun them on a turntable.
For United Record, phonograph records certainly haven't faded into extinction. It presses thousands of them each day and has seen business grow in the face of the digital recording age.
Cris Ashworth, United Record's owner, knows, however, that vinyl probably won't dominate the way it did before cassettes and compact discs took hold, or usurp the growing use of digital downloads from the Internet.
''But there's a market there,'' he said.
Since 1999, when he bought the operation on Chestnut Street near Greer Stadium, Ashworth has increased United Record's revenues from $1.4 million to $4 million by expanding the business to include the pressing of 12-inch, 33.3-rpm records. The number of employees has increased from 10 to 40.
Vinyl sales plummeted in the 1980s. After bottoming out, demand has been steady for LPs slang for 12-inch, ''long playing'' albums over the past decade. Last year, 2.3 million LPs were shipped to U.S. markets, an increase of 3.7% over the 2.2 million shipped in 2000, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. That's a drop in the bucket compared with the 882 million CDs shipped.
Wow, I'm probably one of the few people with a working record player and actual records. There is definately something appealing about pure analog sound.