Inside one of the Largest Pressing Plants in the World | Michael Fremer Reports….
“During the just concluded “Making Vinyl” symposium 9/28-9/29, 2023 in Haarlem, The Netherlands, Record Industry, one of the world’s largest (if not the largest) pressing plants, opened its tours to attendees and conducted tours all Friday afternoon. The approximately 6500 square meter Record Industry originated in 1958 as privately held Artone—which remains the name of the studio within the factory.
Columbia Records bought a 50% share in 1966 and assumed full ownership in 1969 just in time for the vinyl record boom. The pressing plant produced 35 million copies of “Thriller” beginning in 1982, but eventually vinyl faded as CD took over and CBS/Sony decided to unload its “white elephant” of a pressing plant. The cost of removing the boilers, presses and the rest of the vinyl production infrastructure seriously limited the factory’s resale value.
Current owner Ton Vermeulen believing that vinyl would rebound and again become popular, offered Sony fair market value for the real estate and building, adding that he’d be responsible for clearing out the vinyl infrastructure. Sony figured it had a sucker on the line.
Record Industry at first lost money, but as vinyl began to surge, Vermeulen returned the factory to profitability and has invested in new presses and a revitalized infrastructure. Record Industry is home to the Music On Vinyl record label, Artone Studio and the direct to disc specialist Artone Records. The vertically integrated factory has its own printing and packaging facility that recently was moved “off campus” to make room for record press expansion as you’ll see in this video.”
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