This week's Houston Press cover story, "Playing For Keeps," dives into the world of vinyl records, with interviews with local collectors and shop owners who are helping keep the medium alive in the Bayou City. Research for this cover story took me as far north as Dallas, where I visited with A&R Records' Stanley Getz II, who showed me around his record pressing plant.
Our trip to A&R was highlighted by getting to see the Flaming Lips' Record Store Day release The Flaming Lips And Head Fwends -- which was pressed and completed at the Dallas plant -- before all 20,000 copies got ready to be shipped to record stores all over the country.
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With RSD coming up this Saturday, April 21, the story gives you some insight into the reasons why some of you will wake up at dawn to get in line at your favorite shops.
The record pressing process is very much a hands-on operation. Getz and his crew must maintain the plant's machines so they can stay in business. And as you will read, the parts to keep these machines are becoming scarce as some plants close, or the experienced heads behind them pass away.
Of course, the story isn't all about the business of making vinyl. It's also about the hurdles the industry faces in 2012, from shoddy turntables, inferior sound, and high prices. What you will take away from the story is a sense of hope for the future, even as MP3s become the preferred medium for fans, the magic of holding a record will never fade away.