United Records: In the GrooveSeptember 17, 2013
With vinyl record sales at their highest point in more than a decade, a once-forgotten medium is slipping back into the mainstream. Nashville’s United Record Pressing, the largest record pressing plant in the country, is fueling the rebirth.
(Photographs by Caroline Allison)
United Record Pressing has been housed in a cinder block building on Chestnut Street since 1962. At the time that URP moved in, few restaurants and hotels in the area served people of color, so the owners transformed the apartments above the factory into the “Motown Suite,” a place where black musicians and clients could stay while in town. The suite, still furnished with sixties-era furniture, is a reminder of bygone days. But it’s not a museum (although they do offer tours on Fridays at 11:00 a.m.). The URP staff still meets at the kitchen table once used by visitors from the Motown and Vee-Jay labels.
From upstairs, you can hear the factory buzzing as machines stamp hot vinyl and staff members slip newly pressed records into sleeves by hand twenty-four hours a day. After nearly sixty-five years, this plant is still going strong. Click here to see more photos inside United Record Pressing.