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Vinyl Record Production in Peril After Fire at California Plant

A fire at a Banning, California manufacturing plant could wreak havoc on the global supply of vinyl records, Pitchfork reports. On Thursday, Apollo Masters Corp., which has produced the lacquer discs used to make masters for vinyl production for decades, was devastated in a fire that took 82 firefighters and nearly three hours to control. Per the Desert Sun, employees were reportedly inside the building when the fire broke out, but none were injured.

Source:
https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/apollo-masters-fire-vinyl-records-lacquer-production-949648/

Re: Vinyl Record Production in Peril After Fire at California Plant

Reply #1
Sad for the company & employees but I haven't bought a record in about 30 years.   Ask 100 people on the street and you'd be lucky to find anyone still buying records, if they are old enough to have ever bought a record.      I don't think I know anybody who owns a turntable,    (I own one for occasionally digitizing music that's not available digitally).

Prices will go up and supply will go down.    If there's enough demand they will re-build or a new company formed or the other remaining company will expand.   If there's not enough demand to justify new investment, supply will remain limited and a few "vinyl collectors" will be disappointed when fewer artists release vinyl.

Re: Vinyl Record Production in Peril After Fire at California Plant

Reply #2
... Ask 100 people on the street and you'd be lucky to find anyone still buying records, if they are old enough to have ever bought a record...

Quote
vinyl album sales in 2019 experienced another double-digit growth year; up 10.5% over 2018.
~ http://www.buzzanglemusic.com/buzzangle-music-2019-report-on-u-s-music-consumption/
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?  ;~)

Re: Vinyl Record Production in Peril After Fire at California Plant

Reply #3
I also never knew there were so many pressing plants, esp. in the US. ~ https://www.totalsonic.net/vinylplants.htm
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?  ;~)

Re: Vinyl Record Production in Peril After Fire at California Plant

Reply #4
I bash on vinyl but really only because it has inferior fidelity that is audible, which I suspect is the consensus here based on all the unnecessarily lengthy discussions on the subject.

That out of the way, it saddens me to think this media might die.
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Re: Vinyl Record Production in Peril After Fire at California Plant

Reply #5
But I can hear audiophiles scream in agony

Re: Vinyl Record Production in Peril After Fire at California Plant

Reply #6
Sad for the company & employees but I haven't bought a record in about 30 years.   Ask 100 people on the street and you'd be lucky to find anyone still buying records, if they are old enough to have ever bought a record.      I don't think I know anybody who owns a turntable,    (I own one for occasionally digitizing music that's not available digitally).

Prices will go up and supply will go down.    If there's enough demand they will re-build or a new company formed or the other remaining company will expand.   If there's not enough demand to justify new investment, supply will remain limited and a few "vinyl collectors" will be disappointed when fewer artists release vinyl.

It may be a surprise but according to the various media research companies the share of young buyers (IIRC means <30 years old) is ~30% .
Another surprsing fact (in the UK) is that roughly 10% of buyers don't even have a turntable......

But seriously, there was a strong increase in vinyl record demand over the last 10 years, new pressing plants were opened (even Sony did it in 2018, and you might have heard about Jack White's Third Man Records) in several countries and three companies are manufacturing new vinyl record presses.
But afair only two suppliers for the laquer discs - needed for cutting - were still working; it will not be a problem for the plants using Telarc's DMM process but will be for the others.



Re: Vinyl Record Production in Peril After Fire at California Plant

Reply #9
Quote
It may be a surprise but according to the various media research companies the share of young buyers (IIRC means <30 years old) is ~30% .
That's not that surprising to me.    Old guys like me have moved-on and we aren't buying vinyl (if we're buying music at all) except for maybe a few old "audiophiles" and "Vinylphiles", and most of them are probably listening to their old records rather than buying modern releases.  

It's still a relatively small market.  It could double and it would still be a small market.   And of course, if production capacity is down for awhile sales have to shrink for awhile.  Vinyl may eventually catch-up with CDs as CD sales continue to fall.

We are NEVER going back to the time when everybody had records and a record player, and there were record stores, department stores, music stores, and discount stores all selling records.   (I think we had 4 record players in our household when I was growing-up.)

The RIAA only shows statistics through 2018 with vinyl at 3.1% of the units and growng (4.7% of the revenue).   CDs were 9.8% of the units and shrinking (7.1% of the revenue).

Downloads are shrinking along with the overall physical market..   Streaming is increasing and overall revenues are increasing, but still below the peak in 1999.   (Adjusted for inflation it would be about half the peak.)

Re: Vinyl Record Production in Peril After Fire at California Plant

Reply #10
We are going fast to nowhere. Physical media is the last holdout of quality. Once that goes, We are left with streaming, a gazillion of lossy codecs, 128k or below encodings - often transcoded from other lossy.  Plenty of 'scientific' papers will be published on how imperceptible codec x,y,z are.. People will eat it up as usual. Yet in many real life situations most encodings (audio & video) will sound / look like garbage.
wavpack 4.8 -b256hx6c

Re: Vinyl Record Production in Peril After Fire at California Plant

Reply #11
.... and yet, despite that, there's never been a better time for audiophiles and music lovers. The breadth and width of what's available now, at reasonable cost, was unimaginable when I growing up and getting into music. It's easy to look around and see the darkness of day to day events, however, in the long run, amazingly, people seem to overcome the lack of appreciation for the quality in things.

The quality of lossy, if done right, is often adequate; just like the quality of vinyl audio is often adequate, if done right. Personally, I focus on the music, and I ignore the format. To me, worrying about formats is like worrying if the local wiring is 110 or 220.  I strive to be format agnostic. :)

I'll leave the quality of the formats to the experts and the developers, who seem to have it all very well in hand. Thanks to them, generally speaking, I enjoy excellent quality!
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?  ;~)

Re: Vinyl Record Production in Peril After Fire at California Plant

Reply #12
We are going fast to nowhere. Physical media is the last holdout of quality. Once that goes, We are left with streaming, a gazillion of lossy codecs, 128k or below encodings - often transcoded from other lossy.
We???
You, projecting, sure.
The rest - tons of streaming lossless. Heck, MCH too, unbeknownst to the 2ch/vinylsaur lamenting types.
Loudspeaker manufacturer

Re: Vinyl Record Production in Peril After Fire at California Plant

Reply #13
We are going fast to nowhere. Physical media is the last holdout of quality. Once that goes, We are left with streaming, a gazillion of lossy codecs, 128k or below encodings - often transcoded from other lossy.  Plenty of 'scientific' papers will be published on how imperceptible codec x,y,z are.. People will eat it up as usual. Yet in many real life situations most encodings (audio & video) will sound / look like garbage.
Older physical media may last longer than others under ideal conditions, but there's no such thing as invulnerable media. All physical media will degrade over time, and really the only way to maintain identical copies is with digital, even if with better means of storing digital. It's bad when an original master is lost, but it's in a way worse IMO to leave an analog medium left to eventually rot.

The upside to compression is that it allows the content to spread farther around the globe. But I also agree that compression isn't good for preservation as any lost bits will take out bigger portions of the content if not the whole thing. Dependencies should always be minimized, which made the eggs-in-one-basket storage facilitation disasters waiting to happen. One fire, and so much is gone.

There's only so much you can do when royalties are so costly. Moving is expensive, copying hundreds/thousands is expensive. All of it expensive. Endless use of copyright and royalties are sometimes the death of original content as they can be with videogames. Most people get and appreciate what they can afford.... survival of the fittest in personal tastes.

Re: Vinyl Record Production in Peril After Fire at California Plant

Reply #14
... but there's no such thing as invulnerable media. All physical media will degrade over time,...

Quote
The Voyager Golden Records are two phonograph records that were included aboard both Voyager spacecraft launched in 1977. The records contain sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth, and are intended for any intelligent extraterrestrial life form who may find them. The records are a sort of time capsule. Although neither Voyager spacecraft is heading toward any particular star, Voyager 1 will pass within 1.6 light-years' distance of the star Gliese 445, currently in the constellation Camelopardalis, in about 40,000 years.
~ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voyager_Golden_Record O:)
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?  ;~)

Re: Vinyl Record Production in Peril After Fire at California Plant

Reply #15
Well, they obviously won't degrade from the usual conditions of regular playback if nothing plays them for 40,000 years.

 

Re: Vinyl Record Production in Peril After Fire at California Plant

Reply #16
... and if they are ever found, it's likely going to be an lossless digital extraterrestrial rip!
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?  ;~)

 
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