Fikri Harish, Jakarta – Marking the comeback of a vinyl-record pressing plant in Indonesia after a nearly 50-year hiatus, PHR Pressing is set to resume domestic vinyl production in the country with a new pressing plant in Cengkareng, West Jakarta.
A joint venture between the record store PHR and independent music label Elevation Records, the new plant is set to press its first record in June.
"PHR Pressing will have a production capacity of around 30,000 records per month, a logical number given the demand for vinyl records both globally and domestically," PHR Pressing said in a press release.
Throughout the past decade, vinyl records have made a miraculous comeback with worldwide sales continuing to grow. In January, the Entertainment and Retail Association (ERA) reported that sales of vinyl records in the United Kingdom in 2022 outperformed compact discs (CDs) for the first time since 1987 in terms of value.
Over in the United States, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) reported the same, with vinyl records notching up 41 million units sold in 2022, over 33 million CDs. This vinyl renaissance can be partly attributed to the annual Record Store Day event, which originated in the US and has since spread worldwide.
In Indonesia, Record Store Day events have been held annually since 2012, with various local musicians taking part in the celebrations through limited-edition releases and live performances. While Indonesian artists have frequently released albums on vinyl before, all have been pressed abroad, a trend that PHR Pressing is looking to change.
"We want PHR Pressing to fulfill domestic vinyl production needs with affordable rates and relatively quick production time," PHR Pressing said on Sunday. "Given the meager income from streaming royalties, these are important factors in ensuring that labels and musicians can profitably release their music on vinyl".
While vinyl record sales continue to gain momentum, the necessary infrastructure has not always been well equipped to handle the increased demand. In 2021, the release of British singer Adele's album 30 reportedly pushed global vinyl production capacity to a breaking point, leading to industry-wide delays for other musicians looking to press their records.
With production set to begin in June, PHR Pressing has already opened orders for new vinyl pressings.
PHR Pressing will be the first operational domestic vinyl pressing plant since state-owned record label Lokananta in Surakarta, Central Java, stopped vinyl production in 1974.
State-owned Enterprises (SOE) Minister Erick Thohir has embarked on a project to revitalize Lokananta as a music-based creative hub. For now, the project is focused on bringing the quality of Lokananta's recording studio to the level of UK's famed Abbey Road Studio in London, with the aim of resurrecting the label's vinyl pressing plant down the line.