In rotation: 2/10/20

“Devastating” Manufacturing Plant Fire Threatens Worldwide Vinyl Record Supply: Third Man Records’ Ben Blackwell says the destruction of Apollo Masters’ California facility “will present a problem for the vinyl industry worldwide.” Apollo Masters—a manufacturing plant that supplies the lacquer used for making master discs, which are used to make vinyl records—suffered a fire on Thursday, February 6, at its manufacturing and storage facility in Banning, California, The Desert Sun reports. No employees were injured in the “devastating” blaze, which completely destroyed the facility. A note on Apollo Masters’ website reads, “We are uncertain of our future at this point and are evaluating options as we try to work through this difficult time.” Figures in the vinyl record production industry have expressed similar concern. “From my understanding, this fire will present a problem for the vinyl industry worldwide,” Ben Blackwell, co-founder of Third Man Records told Pitchfork in an email. “There are only TWO companies that make lacquers in the world, and the other, MDC in Japan, already had trouble keeping up with demand BEFORE this…”

Vinyl Record Industry Fears ‘Vinylgeddon’ After Fire Burns Down Apollo Masters Plant: The California plant is one of only two in the world that manufactures lacquers, vital to the production of vinyl records. The manufacturing and storage facility for Apollo Masters Corp. — a Banning, Calif.-based manufacturing plant that supplies the lacquer used for making master discs, which are then used to create vinyl records — has burned down in a massive fire, the company confirmed in a statement posted to its official website. “To all of [our] wonderful customers. It is with great sadness we report the Apollo Masters manufacturing and storage facility had a devastating fire and suffered catastrophic damage,” the statement reads. “The best news is all of our employees are safe. We are uncertain of our future at this point and are evaluating options as we try to work through this difficult time. Thank you for all of the support over the years and the notes of encouragement and support we have received from you all.” The fire, which was first reported around 8 a.m. PT Friday morning (Feb. 7), broke out while employees were inside the building, though all escaped safely, according to The Desert Sun, which first reported the blaze. But the loss of the plant — which, along with MDC in Japan, is one of only two worldwide that produces the lacquers needed to create vinyl records — comes as a difficult blow to the booming vinyl record industry.

Vinyl Alliance gains ground to ‘strengthen the position’ of records: The newly-formed group has the likes of Audio Technica and Sony Music as members. Vinyl Alliance is a new group that has formed to help ‘strengthen the position of vinyl records in a digital world’ – and it’s just made headway by appointing an executive board. The group has Audio-Technica, Pro-Ject, Sony Music, Universal Music Group, Analogue Foundation, GZ Media and Ortofon as members, and aims to ‘promote vinyl records as a modern way to consume music.’ Nike Koch of Sony Music Entertainment, and Audio-Technica’s Kurt Van Scoy are among the board members. An announcement regarding new memberships is expected to be made soon, according to Digital Music News. It’s early days for the Vinyl Alliance, but it’s been formed to nurture the vinyl industry, which has of course flourished since the ‘vinyl revival’ kicked off several years ago, and help boost consumers’ appreciation of the format in an increasingly digital world.

​Hamilton, CA | ​Hamilton Record Store Cheapies to Close Next Month: Long-running Hamilton record store Cheapies is the latest music retailer to shutter its doors. The King St. institution will permanently close in March. Owner Brian Jasson revealed the sad news with a social media post this morning. “It is with a heavy heart that I must formally announce, after owning and operating Cheapies for 40 years in downtown Hamilton, the store will permanently close on or before March 27th 2020.” Jasson purchased the store in 1980, which was called Record & Tape Warehouse at the Time. In recent years, the shop has sold new and used vinyl, as well as CDs, films and pop culture merchandise. It also served as the set for Arkells’ “11:11” video.

Hulu Announces “High Fidelity” Record Store Takeover to Benefit Music Education: Zoë Kravitz, star and executive producer of High Fidelity: “In celebration of our premiere, High Fidelity is proud to help raise awareness and funding for music education in public schools. For me, music has always been more than a hobby, but a necessary part of my life. I was lucky enough to have grown up with the privilege of having access to instruments, music teachers and great records, but I know for many that is not the case. I am honored to have the opportunity to contribute to Little Kids Rock’s commitment in empowering future generations of music lovers and makers.” Janice Polizzotto, Chief Development Office, Little Kids Rock: “We are so thankful to be partnering with Hulu and for their support in bringing highly inclusive, culturally relevant music education to kids across the country. High Fidelity is about the power of music, which is perfectly aligned with what we strive to bring to over 500,000 kids every day.”

Enjoy your music in a new way with this bamboo turntable: When it comes to music, there are often two kinds of people: vinyl listeners and digital listeners. While digital music is great, a lot of people will probably tell you that the sound quality in vinyl is better, and visa versa. Well, now you can decide for yourself with this one-of-a-kind turntable. The Stir It Up Wireless Bluetooth turnable is one of the many products produced by the House of Marley; a company that specializes in creating sustainable electronics and whose principles are modeled after music legend Bob Marley. This turntable has a special bamboo plinth, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a built-in preamp. It also comes with a USB port so you can connect to your PC and record sound on your computer. And like most record players, this one plays 33 RPM and 45 RPM speeds. But one of the most unique features is its Bluetooth wireless capability. With this feature, your turntable can connect to any Bluetooth-enabled speaker that could be nearby in your home.

Nashville, TN | Indie Booksellers Keep Nashville Humming: After losing Davis-Kidd Booksellers, local bookstores are celebrating an indie resurgence. With such evocative nicknames as the Athens of the South and Music City, U.S.A., it only makes sense that Nashville boasts a vibrant indie bookselling scene mashing together books, music, and neighborliness to create a loyal customer base. Grimey’s, a 21-year-old record store beloved by Nashvillians and housed in a 4,000-square-foot former church, has been selling new and used books since 2013. The 200–300 new titles—30% of inventory—are primarily nonfiction pertaining to music and musicians, although the used-books selection is more eclectic. “We tend to sell a good deal of Americana books, as well as books about the folk side of things,” says book buyer Jason Bennett, noting that perennial bestsellers are about and by country folk musician John Prine, who lives in Nashville and has performed at the store to promote both books and records.

Erin Enderlin Brings Country Roots to Videos, Vinyl, and Faulkner County: She Joins CMT Next Women of Country Tour. “Growing up my first music was on records, and I even had a little Fisher price turntable! I’ve always loved vinyl. I remember listening with my parents, and especially with my Papaw, H.D. Clinton. I loved looking through the records with him, and I loved the whole process of having to carefully take the record out and place it on the player. I also remember getting into trouble for scratching my dad’s Elton John record, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road — I was dancing too much and scratched it! I still love the whole process and the sound a record has. It’s so cool to finally have one of my own.”

Nashville, TN | Show Us Your Space: Nashville’s Welcome to 1979: Husband-and-wife team Chris and Yoli Mara opened Welcome to 1979 in 2008—establishing a large, analog-rich recording studio in a town steeped in classic recording studios, Nashville. Housed in a former record pressing plant, Welcome to 1979 is in many ways a step into the past—13,000 square feet and two whole floors of hardwood and rugs, large-format consoles and tape machines, and lockers of vintage mics. Despite the size and rich character of its gear, the Maras pride themselves on an open, welcoming atmosphere. They not only record, mix, and master there, but they also perform analog-to-digital transfers, and host events that teach others about analog recording techniques… Built in 1978 and fully restored, this amazing sounding console has been the mainstay of Welcome to 1979 since we opened in 2008. We added CAPI mic-pres on each channel, keeping the great-sounding MCI mic-pres too. A switch was added that allows you to switch between the CAPI pres and original MCI pres, even while listening. We also added a 10-channel Trident 80B sidecar that is integrated into the producer’s desk for a total of 38 inputs.

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