BARTLETT, Tenn. — The sound and sight of a needle touching a spinning record is one indication Memphis Record Pressing (MRP) is back in business.
The pressing machines were humming Thursday, and the company’s almost 150 employees like Brian Nickol were once again putting their spin on vinyl.
The company had to close for almost five weeks during the COVID-19 outbreak.
“It’s been challenging; going a little stir crazy,” Nickol said.
Still, Nickol considers himself one of the lucky ones.
“No, I did alright, fortunately, because MRP was able to cover us during the closure—my bills were paid,” Nickol said.
“Financially, it’s been challenging, as it has been for other businesses,” MRP CEO Brandon Seavers said. “Fortunately for us, we had a cash reserve that allowed us to keep all of our people on payroll. We care for our people, so we decided to keep them on staff for the full extent of the closure, which was over five weeks.”
What’s helped MRP survive is the resurgence of vinyl records and the global demand for the sound quality that many say is superior to CDs or digital streaming.
“We went from being a regional-national company to global, so the demand for our services has skyrocketed, and by volume we’re the second-largest pressing plant in the country,” Seavers said. “We love to tell people the Memphis music industry is not in peril. It’s alive and well in Memphis, Tennessee.”
MRP is re-emerging from the pandemic to provide the musical soundtracks to our lives, and one that is made in Memphis.
“I know that every record we send out the door is meaningful to the consumer,” Nickol said. “Someone will open the record and appreciate the jacket, art, and listen to an artist they love.”