Since 2003, Chicago-based independent record label Numero Group has been celebrating the obscure, the rare, and the long-forgotten through their meticulously crafted reissues and compilations. On this episode, we highlight the label with co-founder Ken Shipley and discuss the ways they’ve creatively adapted to major industry changes, always seeming to stay one step ahead of the game. We also hear from Andre Gibson of disco group Universal Togetherness Band. The prolific act was rediscovered over thirty years after their breakup by Numero Group.
Since talking with Portland’s new record pressing plant, Cascade, in 2015, more and more vinyl pressing plants have opened up. New manufacturers can mean more opportunities for small labels, job creation and better quality products and customer service. We revisit the ups and downs of pressing records with Third Man Records’ Ben Blackwell, Cash Carter and Ryan Lewis of Athens, GA based plant Kindercore Vinyl and New Jersey’s Independent Record Pressing general manager Sean Rutkowski.
At the height of the vinyl industry, over a billion units were being pressed per year in the United States. But, after the advent of the cassette and compact disc, vinyl production numbers dipped down into the hundreds of thousands. Now that vinyl “is back”, and production figures are back up in the millions, what does this mean for the music industry, exactly? For major labels, and their high-dollar re-issue box sets, its been a welcome source of “new” revenue, but for many of the independent labels, that kept the format alive throughout the downturn, this vinyl resurgence has resulted in longer wait times and lower quality product — at a time when demand for their product has never been higher.