A new vinyl pressing plant aimed at grassroots music and indie labels has opened in northeast Germany.
The founders of Matter of Fact, which has been two years in-the-making, decided to launch after "nearly going bankrupt" when running their label due to major label dominance on the vinyl market. Vinyl manufacturing has been plagued with delays, increased shipping costs and backlogs in recent years, with smaller labels having to wait six to 12 months — or more — for their records.
"If a small label has a banger or hit and wants to release it they have to schedule it in 8-12 months. This is an extreme situation. Only majors can plan years ahead", said Matter of Fact's Andrew Kroenert. He explained that the new plant won't press records for major labels and are committed to supporting "the underground, the small and the indies who have held up the flag all these years".
Matter of Fact currently have three machines that can press up to 30,000 records a month, and boast a clutch of semi-automatic presses with which they can make "very unusual colour presses". They also employ environmentally friendly measures such as carbon-neutral shipping and FSC-certified sleeves.
They plan to avoid the huge vinyl manufacturing delays by not overloading themselves and only offering limited slots. "For those we work with we want to be fast and good. If we are full then we are full and do not continue to schedule requests at the end and extend the waiting time for everyone. This should not happen." said Kroenert. "We have invested an incredible amount in appropriate scheduling software and will try to stick to this guideline. In many cases, however, our hands are tied, such as raw material shortages or even the pandemic or energy situation in Europe. We have to see what comes, but we are optimistic".
The factory will be housed inside glass, which they hope will encourage people to visit the pressing plant as well as participate in the pressing. "Have a beer or a tea with us, hang out. We want this factory to become a part of an almost lost culture. Like the record stores where you can sit, talk, chill, drink and have a good time. Vinyl is more than a medium. It is a culture", said Kroenert.
Matter of Fact will ship to the UK and the rest of Europe with prices "within a very normal range". Find out more about Matter of Fact and how to get in touch via their site.
Another new pressing plant also geared towards grassroots music, Press On Vinyl, opened in Middlesbrough earlier this year while Taiwanese vinyl pressing plant Mobineko launched a new express service for limited runs of 25-100 records. Read about how Mobineko aims to revolutionise the vinyl market.