United Record Pressing

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The United logo United Record Pressing Logo.png
The United logo

United Record Pressing (founded as Southern Plastics) is a vinyl pressing plant located in Nashville, Tennessee, that has been in operation since 1949. [1] United has pressed records for such artists as The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Jack White, Adele, Mumford & Sons, Hank Williams Jr., Marie Osmond, Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Lady Antebellum, Justin Timberlake, Kanye West, Kings of Leon, Fall Out Boy, Kendrick Lamar, The Black Keys, The Roots, and Radiohead.

Contents

Today it is the largest vinyl record pressing plant in the United States. [2]

Company history

United Record Pressing in 2013 Unitedbuilding.jpg
United Record Pressing in 2013

United was founded by Ozell Simpkins, John Dunn, and Joe Talbot under the name "Southern Plastics" in 1949, the same year that RCA introduced the 45  rpm record. They found success by working with independent labels like Motown to produce 45  rpm singles for jukeboxes and the everyday consumer. [3]

In 1962, the company moved to its current location at 453 Chestnut Street from 512 Franklin Street in Nashville, Tennessee. This is the building where United would be contracted by Vee Jay Records to press The Beatles first 7-inch records in North America. The building and the machine presses inside of it were all designed by Ozell Simpkins after he spent two months in Brussels, Belgium researching modern pressing plants. A majority of these machines only pressed 45s. United gained the ability to press 12-inchers when they bought the presses from Dixie Record Pressing, another Nashville plant that was winding down. [3]

In 1971, under new management, the name was changed from "Southern Plastics" to United Record Pressing. [3] [4]

Motown Suite

When United first opened the doors at the Chestnut location in 1962, the South was still segregated. Many of the African American customers, executives, and musicians had trouble finding hotels or restaurants that would offer them service. Two of United's biggest clients were Motown and Vee-Jay Records, both labels run by people of color. In response to that, the company built the United Hilton Suite, which would later go on to be known as The Motown Suite. This suite is an area on the second floor of the building that is an apartment-style living space. This area is still viewable to guests touring the plant. It has the same furnishings that were offered to the visiting patrons back in the 1960s. This includes a common room with a bar, plenty of seating for guests, a full bathroom, a double-occupancy bedroom, a kitchen equipped with an old push-button stove and other novel 60s decor. [5] [4]

URP still uses the kitchen as a conference room, having staff meetings while sitting around the same table that the executives and artists used. [5] [4]

Upstairs

Next to the Motown Suite on the second floor of the building is a large space that is used to host record release parties and other events for labels and artists. Among the many, it is believed that this room hosted parties for The Supremes, Smokey Robinson, The Cowsills, Wayne Newton, and a signing party for a 16-year-old Hank Williams Jr. It also functions as a small museum to the company and the history of recorded music. Among other uses, this room houses the Upstairs at United series. [5]

Upstairs at United is a series of all-analog recordings recorded on the second floor of United. All recordings were direct to analog tape under the leadership Chis Mara of Welcome to 1979 Studios, then cut to 12-inch EPs at 45 RPM. The purpose of the Upstairs at United series is to put out music recorded in an all-analog style, and to celebrate the outstanding musical and cultural history that has taken place inside this building. [5]

All recordings are engineered by Mara and his analog studio in Nashville, Tennessee. All recordings were done live directly to one-quarter-inch analog tape using a sixteen-channel vintage recording console and vintage microphones and outboard gear, with no overdubs, edits or audio sweetening. [5]

The series has included artists such as Brendan Benson, North Mississippi Allstars, Keane (band), and Smoke Fairies. [5]

Innovations

Together with various clients including Third Man Records, United has pioneered new innovations to the vinyl world such as:

Expansion

Because of high demand, the company moved to larger facilities in 2017 at 453 Allied Drive in Nashville. [6]

Related Research Articles

In music, a single is a type of release, typically a song recording of fewer tracks than an LP record or an album. This can be released for sale to the public in a variety of formats. In most cases, a single is a song that is released separately from an album, although it usually also appears on an album. Typically, these are the songs from albums that are released separately for promotional uses such as digital download, or video release. In other cases a recording released as a single may not appear on an album.

Extended play Musical recording longer than a single but shorter than a full album

An extended play record, usually referred to as an EP, is a musical recording that contains more tracks than a single but fewer than an album or LP record. Contemporary EPs generally contain four or five tracks, and are considered "less expensive and time-consuming" for an artist to produce than an album. An EP originally referred to specific types of records other than 78 rpm standard play (SP) and LP, but it is now applied to mid-length CDs and downloads as well.

Phonograph record Disc-shaped vinyl analog sound storage medium

A phonograph disc record, or simply a phonograph record, gramophone record, disc record or record, is an analog sound storage medium in the form of a flat disc with an inscribed, modulated spiral groove. The groove usually starts near the periphery and ends near the center of the disc. At first, the discs were commonly made from shellac, with earlier records having a fine abrasive filler mixed in. Starting in the 1940s polyvinyl chloride became common, hence the name "vinyl". In the mid-2000s, gradually, records made of any material began to be called vinyl disc records, also known as vinyl records or vinyl for short.

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Twelve-inch single Type of vinyl phonograph record

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Acetate disc

An acetate disc is a type of gramophone record generally used from the 1930s to the late 1950s for recording and broadcast purposes and still in limited use today.

Unusual types of gramophone records

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Third Man Records American record label

Third Man Records is an independent record label founded by Jack White in Detroit, Michigan, in 2001. Third Man established its first physical location—a combination of record store, performance venue, and headquarters for the label—in Nashville, Tennessee, in 2009. The label opened a Detroit branch location in 2015, which added a pressing plant in 2017.

LP record Analog sound storage medium

The LP is an analog sound storage medium, a phonograph record format characterized by: a speed of 33+13 rpm; a 12- or 10-inch diameter; use of the "microgroove" groove specification; and a vinyl composition disk. Introduced by Columbia in 1948, it was soon adopted as a new standard by the entire record industry. Apart from a few relatively minor refinements and the important later addition of stereophonic sound, it remained the standard format for record albums until its gradual replacement from the 1980s to the early 2000s, first by cassettes, then by compact discs, and finally by music downloads and streaming. The LP has experienced a revival in popularity since about 2007.

In the production of phonograph records – discs that were commonly made of shellac, and later, vinyl – sound was recorded directly onto a master disc at the recording studio. From about 1950 on it became usual to have the performance first recorded on audio tape, which could then be processed and/or edited, and then dubbed on to the master disc.

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Acoustic Sounds, Inc.

Acoustic Sounds, Inc. is a mail-order business specializing in the sale of audiophile vinyl LPs, Direct Stream Digital/PCM downloads (SuperHiRez.com), SACDs, Reel-To-Reel album reissues, DVD-Audios, high-quality CDs and high-end stereo equipment. Located in Salina, Kansas, United States. The business is owned and operated by Chad Kassem and as of 2016 employed 98 people.

Quality Record Pressings

Quality Record Pressings is a vinyl record pressing plant launched by music entrepreneur Chad Kassem in Salina, Kansas, United States in 2011. QRP sought to improve premier audiophile pressings, introducing innovations never before tried in the record pressing industry.

Electrical transcription

Electrical transcriptions are special phonograph recordings made exclusively for radio broadcasting, which were widely used during the "Golden Age of Radio". They provided material—from station-identification jingles and commercials to full-length programs—for use by local stations, which were affiliates of one of the radio networks.

References

  1. 1 2 "An Inside Look at United Record Pressing". Performer Magazine. 2 December 2011. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  2. "Record maker puts his stamp on music history". USA Today. 22 February 2007. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  3. 1 2 3 McCall, Michael. "The colorful past and promising future of United Record Pressing". Weekly Wire. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  4. 1 2 3 "About United Record Pressing". United Record Pressing. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Upstairs at United". 453 Music. Archived from the original on 26 July 2013. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  6. https://www.nashvillescene.com/music/nashville-cream/article/20847562/breaking-united-record-pressing-closing-historic-plant-updated