Majors respond to Jack White’s plea for vinyl pressing support: Exclusive
Jack White spoke, the majors have answered.
Earlier this month, the White Stripes co-founder and vinyl enthusiast issued a call-out to the major labels, in an unusual plea to help bust the bottleneck on wax production.
White, who owns Third Man Records in Detroit, urged the big three to invest in the booming business of vinyl, one that’s exposed by surging fuel prices and the supply-chain issues created by the pandemic.
The industry and music fans need more pressing plants. “In this spirit,” he explained in a message to the industry, “I turn to our collegial big brothers in the music world, Sony, Universal, and Warner, and politely implore them to help alleviate this unfortunate backlog and start dedicating resources to build pressing plants themselves.”
White’s right. The data supports his argument.
Pictured: Jack White
As the citizens of the world were stuck at home for a second year, sales in vinyl surged, driving the first uptick in the physical market for 20 years.
Vinyl spun another good story, reporting “very strong revenue growth” of 51.3% in 2021, the IFPI reported this week, against 25.9% growth registered in 2020.
Total revenue from physical soundcarriers was up 16.1%, to $5 billion.
Speaking on a conference call Tuesday (March 22) for the presentation of the IFPI’s Global Music Report 2022, Universal Music Group executive Adam Granite admitted the vinyl market is on fire, but it’s leashed by issues that need to be resolved.
“All markets in the top 30 saw growth, except for one,” he responded to a question from TMN.
“Vinyl revenue increased 54% in 2021, it’s worth mentioning that 90% of global vinyl revenue is coming from the U.S., Canada, and Europe. There’s probably lots of (potential) growth elsewhere but it’s currently concentrated.”
He continues, “Clearly the biggest issue we have with vinyl is meeting the demand. From a manufacturing standpoint, I think we all are doing our best to increase production where we can.”
Separate data published Wednesday illustrated Australians’ unrequited love affair with vinyl.
Vinyl albums had the lion’s share of physical sales at $29.7 million, according to data published by ARIA, against $24.9 million for CD albums, for so long the dominant format here.
As recently as 2020, sales of CD albums outpaced those on wax.
“The vinyl market is an increasingly important player as our market evolves, affording music fans across generations the opportunity to add classics to their collection,” ARIA CEO Annabelle Herd said, “but also for fans of new music to have a greater sense of connection and ownership toward recordings they love. It is an important sector for independent artists, DJs and emerging subcultures that deserves serious recognition.”
Pictured: ARIA CEO, Annabelle Herd