MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Long before streaming music and CDs, there were vinyl records. But today, they’re making a major comeback and are more popular than ever thanks to a Mid-South company.
At Memphis Record Pressing on Appling Center Drive in Bartlett, there was a ribbon cutting for a vinyl company whose spin on a once-dying format has it on record to become one of the largest pressing plants in North America.
“We never thought that we would get to this size and we were going to be one of the major players in the global market,” said Mark Yoshida, Co-founder and COO of Memphis Record Pressing.
This is the company’s second of its two expansion facilities and to the overall tune of $30 million. The expansion includes a new 33,000-square-foot pressing plant floor at the Brother Boulevard headquarters as well as the new 100,000-square-foot packaging and shipping facility at Appling Center.
“The size of our packaging facility here is about 108,000 square feet. It allows us to package more records. A year ago, we were producing about 28.000 records a day. Today we’re producing about 65,000 records a day and by June we’ll be producing 120,000 records a day,” Yoshida explained.
The expansion will more than triple the size of MRP with 52 record presses running around the clock each day. It also comes at a time when vinyl album sales overtook CD sales last year for the first time since 1987 with 43 million copies sold.
“It’s a younger generation that’s brought it back. A lot of it is the collectability and the experience that people get out of vinyl records,” Yoshida said.
Memphis musicians such as Hope Clayburn are thrilled about the expansion.
“I’m getting my record pressed here. I got a new vinyl record coming out called ‘Y’all So Loud’ that hopefully will be coming in the Fall,” Clayburn said.
She said a vinyl record is a different experience for the artist and for the fans listening to it.
“Getting vinyl records pressed, especially as a local musician, kinda makes you almost official. There’s something about it having a physical representation of your music and vinyl just sounds so much better than anything,” Clayburn said.
Founded back in 2014, MRP is now hoping to double its workforce to staff the new facilities as a vinyl resurgence remains alive and spinning for years to come and thanks to a Memphis-based company.
“I am proud we’ve managed to build this is where we can help be part of the legacy of Memphis music,” Yoshida said.
Memphis Record Pressing projects it will press between 20 and 25 million vinyl records in 2023.