Historic Timeline


First record pressing plant in the South

The original record pressing plant was formed post-war as an off shoot from Bullet Records, one of Nashville’s first independent record labels. During the 50s, the company changed its name to Southern Plastics, Inc., and also focused on the manufacture of seven-inch 45-rpm singles. The first seven-inch 45-rpm single records had been released by RCA on March 31, 1949, and before long, the seven inch was the unit of choice of jukebox manufacturers and became the primary means of disseminating the hippest music of that era.


453 Chestnut Street & The Motown Suite

Southern Plastics was doing well in the early ’60s, turning out over one million records per month, eventually securing a contract with Motown Records to press the company’s singles. They outgrew their old facility and decided to build a new plant just south of downtown of Nashville. In the design for the plant, the aim was to have space for production, administration and hospitality. There were few accommodations available to African Americans during this time in the South, and with top clients like Vee Jay Records and Motown, United created what we now call the “Motown Suite,” an apartment located above the factory to host black artists and music executives. The set of rooms – previously known as the “United Hilton” – included a living room, a bedroom with two twin beds, a full bathroom, and a fully equipped kitchen complete with a push button stove. The interior design of the suite still remains intact today and continues to be a space for album release parties, shoots and meetings.


Company name changed to United Record Pressing

After changes in management and ownership, two key figures from the original Southern Plastics – John Dunn and Ozell Simpkins – formed the new company of United Record Pressing. Many major record companies began to phase out their in-house pressing facilities, so business at United Record Pressing was brisk, enabling it to become the largest independent record pressing plant in the Southeast.


Vinyl Becomes A Niche Product

During the 1980s, the company pressed its last notable string of successful single releases with the gold and platinum selling songs of Lionel Ritchie. However, during the latter part of that decade, the compact disc was making significant inroads into the market and in 1988, CD sales overtook those of vinyl for the first time. A small niche consumer base for vinyl persisted. It included DJs, whose dance-floor sounds necessitated the manipulation of discs on turntables, and rap and hip-hop artists who required the format for their “scratch” techniques.


United Acquires Dixie Record Pressing

United struck a deal with another Nashville pressing plant, Dixie Record Pressing, which was winding down its business, and purchased its pressing machines. At that point, United Record Pressing – which had previously been dedicated to pressing 45 rpms – began to press ten- and twelve-inch records as well. A few year after, another deal was made with Universal Music regarding their pressing plant in New York State, and United decided to also buy their pressing machines, doubling the capacity of the plant.


The Resurrection of Vinyl

The market for vinyl began to regain lost ground. Techno, hip-hop and dance club records continued to be a mainstay, as were those supplied to jukebox vendors who used 45-rpm singles in their machines. In addition, demand for LPs began to rise again. Since the mid-2000s, many new releases within all genres of music have been issued on vinyl alongside CD and digital versions. United Record Pressing has also pressed new versions of classic albums by artists such as Bob Dylan, The Byrds, Johnny Cash, and Jimi Hendrix. In addition, many notable contemporary artists–including Adele, Jack White, Kendrick Lamar, Harry Styles, and Taylor Swift–became strong supporters of the vinyl format.


URP Music Distributors

United became a one-stop shop with the addition of URP Music Distributors, its wholesale and distribution division. URPMD sells records to independent record stores across the country and carries more than 11,000 titles each year.


Launch of 453 Music

United released its first record on its own record label – 453 Music. The label started a 12” EP series called Upstairs at United, which features notable acts recording live direct-to-analog tape in the Motown Suite’s record release room above the original, historic United Record Pressing plant. Some artists on the catalog include Brendan Benson, Cory Chisel, Bobby Rush, The Smoke Fairies, Keane, and more.


World’s Fastest Record

On April 19th, 2014 — RECORD STORE DAY — URP worked with Jack White in delivering the World’s Fastest Studio-to-Store Record to fans in Nashville!


United moves to a larger facility

In order to streamline processes and optimize quality, output, and turnaround times, United purchased and consolidated operations into one new facility located on Allied Drive in Nashville. The new plant is a significantly larger, more modern operation – enabling an increase in United’s capacity and was needed to keep up with the rapid demand for the company’s vinyl record pressing services.


Expansion at Allied Drive begins

We began our expansion with the groundbreaking for our new mechanical room and starting to cut concrete in the expansion area for process piping.


Expansion at Allied Drive completed

The last set of presses are installed. Approximately 15,000 square feet were added to facilitate the new expansion area including pressing, mechanical room for boiler feed, boilers, cooling water, and compressed air.


Historical Marker

Historical Commission of Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County places historical marker at the 453 Chestnut Street location on August 23, 2023.