Digital music is accessible at the click of a button, CDs are portable and robust, and record players are rare to the point of extinction. Why would anyone buy vinyl in this day and age?
"To be really cool," says Mark Wadhwa, one half of the pair behind the Vinyl Factory, which in 2003 rescued the EMI vinyl pressing plant in Hayes from closure. "Everyone can download. If you've got a vinyl record you're different."
UK sales of seven inch singles increased from 180,000 in 2001 to more than a million in 2007, as young people discovered the format for the first time.
....Vinyl will remain a niche product, he says, but one made viable by the internet. "Before there might have been 500 people in the UK who would have bought a particular record on vinyl, now we can reach 200,000 people globally."
...."EMI from 1905 to 1970 spent millions of pounds perfecting the machinery that made their records," says Wadhwa. "The machinery was absolutely unique." As such, the Vinyl Factory has had to develop a method to hand-make replacement parts for the machines.
Fortunately the plant came with its staff, including a manager now pushing 80, whose parents worked there before him. Four highly skilled engineers have been retained to pass on their knowledge to the younger generation.