Is there a green solution to the vinyl record backlog? – BBC

The backlog in the vinyl industry since the pandemic began means that artists and some music fans are having to wait around a year to receive their records.
Global demand for albums is at its highest in 30 years, while most factories are still using the same pressing methods deployed in the 1980s.
But a Dutch firm is offering, what it says is, a more sustainable – but more expensive – solution to the backlog.
And it is doing so without the material that gave vinyl its name.
Harm Theunisse, owner of Green Vinyl Records, in Eindhoven, believes it is the "new standard" for the industry.
His team has spent the past seven years developing a new large-scale pressing machine that uses up to 90% less energy than typical vinyl production, and which can be monitored in real time rather than retrospectively.
"This machine can do almost 40% more capacity than the traditional plants, too," said Theunisse.
"The pressing here is both faster and better for our planet."
The machine in Eindhoven avoids using PVC (polyvinyl chloride – which gave vinyl its name) – the most environmentally damaging of plastics, according to Greenpeace.
Instead, it uses polyethylene terephthalate (Pet) – a more durable plastic which is easier to recycle.
Theunisse said he wanted to do something to enable future generations to listen to music on vinyl without worrying about the environmental impact.
"It's for the kids," he said. "Our world is heating up."
The barrier to finding eco-friendly alternatives to PVC has always been the desire to match the same rich sound quality while maintaining the hardness and durability of plastic, says Sharon George, senior lecturer in sustainability at Keele University.
Green Vinyl Records' method is "a real step in the right direction", she says.
"We need to stop thinking about the cost at the till and think about that cost to the planet and to our health," she adds.
Worldwide demand for vinyl is currently estimated at around 700 million records a year, as a result of a resurgence in popularity coinciding with supply chain problems during the Covid pandemic.
The big factories are having to turn away business.
"It's nice to have such a full order book," said Ton Vermeulen, chief executive of vinyl manufacturing company Record Industry, in Haarlem, near Amsterdam.
But there are issues, he says, with people "always over- or under-ordering".
"When they have a new album out, they order 1,000 [copies] and, by the time they're getting it, they already need 1,500."
Mr Vermeulen says his company is dealing with frustrated customers who have album plans and gigs booked around release dates. He is having to tell record labels and artists to wait.
"They're willing to pay more. They say 'whatever it costs, it doesn't matter' – but unfortunately, it doesn't work like that. It's the whole chain we need to go through," he told BBC News.
Vinyl has been manufactured at Vermeulen's factory since 1957 and the company prides itself on its heritage methods, using the same 33 presses, which are painstakingly maintained.
First a master disc is made of metal and converted into a stamper. Then PVC pellets are loaded into the machine, melted and pressed into the mould.
The machines stay on for 17 hours and churn out 50,000 PVC records per day.
The audio here is made and packed for the three major labels: Sony, Universal and Warner Music; deals that have been in existence for decades.
Vinyl manufacturer Record Industry is trying to be conscious of the planet, too – from recycling waste to investing in solar power.
So what does its boss think of a more environmentally-friendly future for pressing records?
"I've had calls saying, 'Hey, can you press records from the plastic from the ocean?'," said Mr Vermeulen. "We could give it a try and it might look like a record – but if it needs to sound like a normal record, there's where we have a problem."
"When you want to keep the quality of the product as it is now, then that's impossible," he says.
The molecular attributes of the plastic are thought to have a significant impact on the quality of how the music sounds – so pressing plants want to avoid using impure materials.
Mr Vermeulen was involved with the Green Vinyl project when it began, but he raises concerns about the costs.
"I think it's the unknown aspects, and the costs involved to put high investment in – because these machines are massively more expensive than the presses we use over here," he said.
"I'm not saying there is no space for such a new technique, but I have doubts if companies are going [to go] for it."
But it seems some are willing to take the risk. Tom Odell's new album is being pressed at Green Vinyl Records.
And Harm Theunisse has just signed his first order from Warner, too.
The entrepreneur acknowledges the initial costs, but estimates a return on investment in around 18 months.
"You've got to buy one and then listen to it yourself," he says.
You can hear more about green vinyl pressing on BBC World Service podcast Tech Tent.
Follow Shiona McCallum on Twitter @shionamc
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Vinyl Record Sales are Booming, Study Says – NBC Southern California

Fifteen years ago, vinyl records were all but obsolete, but thanks to the pandemic, sales have skyrocketed, according to a new study.
Vinyl has seen a resurgence in the music industry, the study from the Luminate Midyear Music Report finds.
Current vinyl album sales are up 27.4% compared to this time last year. 
Luminate produces foundational entertainment data and consumer studies for over 30 years. Luminate, formerly known as P-MRC Data, answers the unasked questions that direct entertainment’s most crucial decisions.
With the return of popular demand of vinyl records, companies have started to repress their catalogs, including records like Nirvana’s iconic “Nevermind” and The Beatles’ “Abbey Road.”
Harry Styles broke the modern-age record of vinyl album sales in a single week with the release of his third album, “Harry’s House”. It garnered 182,000 vinyl sales.
Stores like Target and Walmart have experienced double the sales in vinyl records, according to Luminate.
Record sales increased 361% since the start of the pandemic in 2019.

Homebound young people were the force behind the increase of vinyl sales during the pandemic. With current artists pressing their albums on vinyl, it was a natural transition to get a new generation into collecting. Artists like Billie Eilish and Taylor Swift pushed the pop genre into the fastest growing genre on vinyl. 
Taylor Swift sold 800,000 more vinyl records in 2021 than she did the year before. 
After years of abandoning physical music for digital streaming, all album sales growth was in physical album copies, according to NPR.
Tyler the Creator released a vinyl of his album “CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST” 10 months after its initial release, resulting in 50,000 vinyl sales.  
With the surge of record sales, retailers are rethinking physical media and stocking up on it, according to NPR.
But independently owned record-pressing companies are struggling to keep up with the vinyl demand. According to NPR, the production schedule has gone from four months to more than a year, pushing back album releases.
LA has its own impressive collection of record shops, including:
Amoeba Music 
Going Underground Records 
The Record Parlor 
Paradise City Records 
Atomic Records 
Collecting vinyl records has been tradition for many. The resurgence gives a chance for new generations to pass down tradition. 

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Mastercard launches its first-ever music album: Priceless® – Mastercard

 
Today, Mastercard unveiled its first-ever music album titled Priceless® at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. The album, available first on Spotify and then other streaming platforms, features 10 songs by 10 artists from around the globe. Each song incorporates the recognizable melody of Mastercard’s brand sound.  
To enhance its commitment to music fans and emerging talent, Mastercard has joined forces with acclaimed producer Timbaland’s Beatclub music creator platform. Inspired by the original songs developed for Mastercard’s album, up-and-coming Beatclub music creators were mentored by Timbaland as they remixed two standout tracks.
“Our first-ever music album featuring the inspiring, original work of 10 rising artists takes our innovative sonic branding approach to an even higher, unmatched level,” said Raja Rajamannar, Mastercard chief marketing and communications officer and president, Healthcare. “From Algeria to Australia and Slovenia to Sweden, each of the artists integrated our melody into their songs and created something that we are all truly proud of! We hope others will enjoy these songs as much as we do.”
As part of the Beatclub collaboration, Mastercard will purchase and provide one-year memberships to the Beatclub platform to hundreds of up-and-coming creators from disenfranchised communities. 
“This partnership was a natural fit given Mastercard and Beatclub’s mutual goal of supporting artists and the industry,” said Timbaland. “Together we’re elevating emerging artists through the power of music and mentorship. Providing platforms, tools, and connections for creators to pursue their passions opens doors for countless artists to break into an industry that is often impenetrable.”   
Mastercard collaborated closely with executive producer Niclas Molinder to find artists who span a variety of cultures, languages and genres – a core element of the album’s identity. Each artist was tasked with incorporating the brand’s melody into their song, demonstrating how audio branding can be used innovatively. The full album will feature tracks from up-and-coming artists including Michael Rice (United Kingdom), Shiraz (Lebanon), Good Harvest (Sweden), Alma Lake (Colombia/USA), Raees (Algeria), Tejas (India), Nadine Randle (United Kingdom/Sweden), Tania (Australia), Elle B. (USA) and Amaya (Slovenia).
The music will be introduced at a launch party with Spotify, Mastercard’s exclusive launch partner and the world’s most popular audio platform with 422 million users across 183 markets. As a fellow global leader in their respective industry, Spotify is committed to lifting up and supporting emerging artists and will provide an even larger platform for them to connect with a robust global audience of listeners and fans.   
Mastercard has a longstanding relationship with the music industry, through its Priceless platform and work with artists like Jennifer Hudson, SZA and others. 
Björn Ulvaeus of ABBA, a co-founder of Sessions, a platform empowering music creators and a Beatclub partner said, “Mastercard’s one-of-a-kind album and Beatclub partnership shines a light on supporting emerging artists and creators, which will help these talented performers become recognized on a global scale.” 
Media Contacts
About Beatclub
Beatclub is the world’s premier marketplace that connects the music creator community with record labels, publishers, gaming companies, TV and Film companies, and artists. Beatclub’s NFT portal helps artists, producers and songwriters collaborate to create NFTs. Beatclub is the brainchild of Grammy Award winning super-producer Timbaland and longtime business partner Gary Marella. Beatclub allows creators to sell, buy or license beats, loops, samples, acappellas, and more. It enables them to customize their licenses, allowing creators to set their terms on publishing, royalties, master rights, and fees. This empowering, creator-centered model has attracted an impressive list of elite producers, songwriters, and artists to join the platform, including Justin Timberlake, J. Cole, Mike Dean, Cash Money AP, Tommy Brown, Jozzy, Larrance Dopson, Federico Vindver, Boogz, Tainy, Ang Lopez, Mike WiLL Made-It and thousands of invited new members.
www.beatclub.com
About Mastercard (NYSE: MA)
Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. Our decency quotient, or DQ, drives our culture and everything we do inside and outside of our company. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all.
www.mastercard.com

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A New Road for Resnek: Harvard Attorney Releases Music Album Friday – Chelsea Record

Joe Resnek is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. After passing the bar exam and becoming an attorney, he took a position as a public defender at Greenfield District Court.
But now the 33-year-old Chelsea resident is putting his legal career on hold and launching into music in a big way. He has returned to the city and will release his first EP – titled “1” – on June 17.
The date of the EP release is by design. “June 17 is also 6/17, which is the area code for Chelsea,” explained Resnek, who also plays guitar and piano on the album. “My EP has seven songs, and the songs are about growing up in Chelsea and coming home and being home again. They’re like love songs to my hometown.”
The songs will be available for free on Spotify, YouTube, Apple Music, and other platforms.
Resnek said he was inspired to return to his music roots after consulting with his close friend, Lorenzo Recupero.
“Lorenzo has been one of my biggest supporters,” said Joe. “He convinced me that my music was good enough to move ahead in it. I set up a studio in the attic and began playing open mic events in Greenfield and surrounding communities. That’s when I really got serious about my music. I then teamed up with a Harvard engineer, Gabe Cederberg, who had started in electronic music production. He guided me away from what I was doing, which was rap music, and helped me branch out to other styles of music.”
Soon after, Resnek and Cederberg traveled to Spain, where Resnek set up a music studio and recorded several songs.
“I was finally making the music I wanted to make, and I thank Gabe for getting me to where I wanted to be,” said Resnek.
Resnek also called upon another Harvard connection. He met with his fellow Harvard Law School alumnus, former Spotify executive Ned Monahan.
“Ned suggested that I put my music online and I heeded his advice,” said Resnek. “I quit my job and decided to put my music online. It became clear that this was what needed to be done to pursue the music.”
A Winner of His High School Talent Show
Joe Resnek is a self-taught musician and singer. He began playing musical instruments after his parents, Carol and Josh, purchased a guitar for him on his tenth birthday. Joe would often perform music with a youth band, and his first show was at Mary O’Malley Park.
“There were about three people there,” recalled Resnek, smiling. “[Councillor-at-Large] Leo Robinson got us that gig.”
When Joe entered Chelsea High School in the ninth grade, he decided to enter the school talent show.
“My only goal going into high school was to win the school talent show,” said Resnek, displaying his trademark wit. “I won it for three straight years playing the guitar and piano. I also had the honor of performing music with Ashley Rodriguez, who became a Top-10 finalist on American Idol and now has a successful professional singing career. Ashley was phenomenal in high school. I was also in a band in high school.”
Studying at Harvard
Joe took a break from playing music while a student at Harvard College, concentrating entirely on his studies.
“I had no time for music other than listening and being motivated and being inspired by music,” recalled Resnek. “But I did spend my summers making music in my mother’s basement.”
Resnek graduated with honors from Harvard in 2015 and was accepted to Harvard Law School, receiving his Juris Doctor degree in 2017.
During his final year of law school, Joe said he started playing music in the streets around Harvard Square and in downtown Boston.
“I started playing the subways, and in the summer of 2017, I made about $10 an hour, mostly performing in Harvard Square, Government Center, and Downtown Crossing. I got a $50 tip and that was one of the greatest moments in my life. I knew that something special in my music was making it through to people.”
Promoting his Music
Joe Resnek will spend this summer showcasing his music to a wider audience. “I’m going to be promoting my music by playing my music,” said Resnek. “I want to play everywhere and anywhere I can. At this time, I have no gigs scheduled. But I intend to play the subways, at bars, restaurants. I would love to open at the Lynn Auditorium. My goal is to make the best music possible.” And no one will ever underestimate the drive and determination of Joe Resnek, who dreamt of going to Harvard as a child and realized his dream. Now the world of music is beckoning the well-known Chelsea resident and scholar.
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