The alt-weekly The Nashville Scene first reported last week that the United Record Pressing plant, a mainstay of vinyl production since 1949, would be expanding its operations to a new 142,000-square-foot facility in South Nashville. In a later article by Billboard, United said that the new facility, estimated to be the size of “two football fields,” would double the plant’s production capacity, and that the expansion would help the country’s largest vinyl manufacturer keep pace with strong market demand.
That the new facility is the size of two football fields reminds us that vinyl records take up a lot of space. It’s not a practical gimmick for people who live in tiny Manhattan apartments. Even finding a place for a turntable (which needs to be a on flat stable surface that’s easy to get to) can be challenging. And on top of that, new vinyl LPs cost twice as much as the same music legally purchased digitally (and the same music can be easily obtained for free, although of course you shouldn’t do that because it’s illegal).
My theory is that the human brain didn’t evolve to understand intellectual property on an emotional level. We have an evolutionary urge to acquire resources (which used to be useful for helping to make sure your children lived long enough to have children of their own), and our illogical animal brain thinks of a vinyl record as a resource but can’t grasp a digital file as being a resource.
Nevertheless, the re-emergence of vinyl records still seems to me like a temporary fad.