Celebrating 75 Years of “Pressing Forward”

As we commemorate our 75th anniversary at United Record Pressing (URP), we are filled with pride in this remarkable milestone and excitement about our future together. Our 2024 campaign theme, “Pressing Forward,” encapsulates our commitment to a rich history while embracing innovation and future growth. This year, we are eager to share news, events, and activities to celebrate our achievements and highlight our ambitions. 

From humble beginnings in 1949, URP was founded to press vinyl records for Nashville’s burgeoning country music scene. Over the decades, we have become a cornerstone of the music industry, pressing iconic records for the Beatles, Motown Artists, Bob Dylan, Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, The Rolling Stones, Johnny Cash, Prince, Jimi Hendrix, Minor Threat, The White Stripes, Kendrick Lamar, and many more. Notably, on Record Store Day in 2014, we collaborated with Jack White to deliver the World’s Fastest Studio-to-Store Record, underscoring our dedication to pushing the boundaries of vinyl production. Today, URP is North America’s largest historic pressing plant, occupying a 160,000-square-foot facility with over 60 presses.

In recent years, we have made significant strides to shift from a production-centric approach to a completely customer-centric focus. Over the past 18 months, we’ve introduced several changes to enhance our operations to serve our customers best. We completed an $11 million pressing room build-out, installed 24 state-of-the-art Pheenix presses with updated HVAC and water filtration, and implemented a 4-day, 10-hour work schedule. We trained Pheenix press operators while overhauling and restoring Lened presses. New demand planning and production scheduling processes have reduced WIP levels by 92%, bringing overall throughput time and on-time deliveries up to speed with modern expectations. We invested in you by enhancing production capacity and equipment.

Our journey has also included hiring new leadership in proven plant management and human resources (Panasonic), and raising overall equipment effectiveness from 55-60% to 70-75% by tackling stoppages and rejects. We’ve further enhanced our capabilities by hiring industry leaders to spearhead our business objectives in finance (Gibson Guitars), marketing, and customer experience (Third Man Records).

Most recently, our industry-leading innovations include implementing a scalable mix color process for customized records and becoming the first North American vinyl pressing plant to earn the Sony Green Partnership Certificate. With post-press scrap rates reduced to under 1% and test press turnarounds averaging seven business days, we prioritize customer success and ease of process above all.

Looking ahead, “Pressing Forward” signifies our commitment to continued excellence and embracing new opportunities. We will host events and activities throughout this anniversary year to celebrate with our community and customers. We look forward to sharing these moments and reflecting on our shared successes.

Additionally, over the next several weeks, we invite you to join us in our blog series, where we will delve into various topics that define our journey and future direction:

  • Heritage and Innovations: Celebrating our storied past and embracing cutting-edge technologies for the future.
  • Customer-Centric Focus: Highlighting our transformation to prioritize customer success above all.
  • Operational Improvements: Showcasing our relentless pursuit of operational excellence and efficiency.
  • Sustainability Excellence: Demonstrating our commitment to eco-friendly practices and sustainability milestones.
  • Industry Engagement: Engaging with industry leaders through events and thought leadership initiatives.

As industry leaders, we frequently participate in panel discussions and provide thought leadership, sharing our insights and expertise with the wider vinyl community. While operational excellence with industry standards is our baseline, we set our bar higher by focusing on our customers’ success. YOU are our True North, guiding our efforts and priorities.

At URP, our customers remain at the heart of everything we do, and your trust and support have enabled us to reach this impressive milestone. Thank you for being part of our journey. Here’s to pressing forward together for many more years of vinyl excellence.