South Korea has just opened it’s first vinyl pressing plant in 13 years

Machang Music & Pictures’ vinyl pressing plant currently has two pressing machines and can manufacture “1,000” records a day.

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(Photo: Machang Music & Pictures)

After the vinyl-pressing industry shut down in South Korea back in 2004, there was an attempt to bring back eight years later with the vinyl resurgence propping back up several years ago. However, according to Korea Times, the plant didn’t own a lacquer cutter and had to import a master plate. That was untenable, for a long term goal.

Machang Music & Pictures had to plan conservatively for the plant’s launch, going through “three years of development” before finally opening the plant, which is now equipped with a “made-in Korea vinyl pressing machine.”

The All-in-one vinyl pressing plant system in Seong-su, Seoul enables the company to “cut the master plate, plate the discs to make stamper plates, pressing the vinyl and even packaging them in sleeves.”

The lacquer cutting is conducted at Machang studio’s in Majong-dong, Seoul. The audio grooves are then cut onto the lacquer, which “goes through a plating process to make a stamper for the pressing machine.” Pellets of PVC are heated into a puck-like lump of vinyl, and the pressing machine stampers “flatten it and presses the grooves into the biscuit, turning it into a vinyl record.”

Now according to the article by Korea Times, musicians in Korea had to look towards alternatives in the “Czech Republic and in Germany” and the process would take a lengthy six months “due to the large volume of orders from factories and the shipping time required from Europe to Asia.”

For Asia, we could probably think of pressing plants like Tokoyasei in the city of Yokohama in Japan or Prime Disc in Hong Kong, but it’s true that the pressing plant options in Asia are more limited than in the United States for example.

In the 2000s, a number of popular K-pop artists have hopped onto the vinyl format, with IU, 2AM and INFINITE among the list. With the launch of this pressing plant and a potential others in Asia, more Korean artists might start pressing their records onto vinyl. Perhaps we’ll also have IU’s Palette on vinyl, which actually seems possible now.

Watch the birth of a vinyl from Machang’s very own studio to their vinyl pressing plant right here:

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