A week ago we went to the ‘Motor City’ Detroit Michigan as a participant and sponsor of the Vinyl Record industry’s debut event celebrating it’s global rebirth. For 10 consecutive years this physical medium has seen double digit growth and has reemerged as a deluxe product after becoming nearly defunct. As makers of Album sleeves, and Protection products designed to preserve this amazing music medium for over 40 years we were very excited to be a part of this incredible conference.

We asked Kris our Product Development Manager, and Pete our Operations Manager who attended the show to share their thoughts and what they took away from ‘Making Vinyl 2017’.

Question: Pete and Kris, why did you find it to be a good idea to attend the “Making Vinyl” show in Detroit on November 6th & 7th?

Kris: Well, it was important because we have been part of this industry for what seems like forever. It was an opportunity to hear from and speak to artists, other manufacturers, brokers, and even those who just want to be in the vinyl industry (but are not yet). We met people from all over the world, and now they know a little more Bags Unlimited. We also met a lot of long-time BU customers, whom we have spoken to for years but never met. That is why it was so important to be there.

Pete: We learned a lot about the actual record pressing side of things, we met a lot of our customers and also met a bunch of potential customers.

Question: What did you do to prepare for the show?

Kris: Aside from samples, promotional bags, catalogs and that kind of stuff, I just prepared mentally by knowing who I wanted to speak with and the questions and conversations I wanted to have. I thought it was important to leave a positive impression which was easy. It was a vinyl record show and everyone was just really happy to be there.

Pete: We had our office staff prepare a lot of sample boxes with all our vinyl record sleeves, both inner and outer. We did brave a tornado warning and torrential rain in Northern Ohio to get there.

Question: Who did you meet? Do you care to do any name dropping?

Kris: Everyone there was awesome and we spoke to ALMOST EVERYONE. Justin from Burlington does come to mind though. I know Justin just from over the phone, but he came over and we spoke, and then he showed me pictures of the record press he recently built. The man made his own press! Cool!

Pete with ‘DMC’

Pete: Got my picture with Darryl (“DMC”) McDaniels of RUN-DMC, and listened to Jack White from the white stripes amongst other endeavors.

Question: What was the energy like at the show?

Kris: Incredible and like nothing I have ever seen. So many people excited to talk about everything records. The manufactures were excited to share processes, concerns, roadblocks and expectations for what the future looks like. I was blown away at how helpful everybody was at this show. A common love of vinyl I guess. It also appears that everyone collects records!

Pete: The energy level was high due to the difficulty of record pressing. It seems all the different manufacturing entities seem to help each other out to some degree.

Question: What was the most valuable information you brought home from the show?

Kris: Something I already knew. A vinyl record is something you can hold and the jacket something you can read and enjoy. Both DMC and Jack White talked a lot about this. It truly is an experience that digital does not offer and that is why the vinyl record industry is a growing again. More artists are opting for vinyl. I think the expectation is that it will keep growing as pressing capacity seems to also be ramping up.

Pete: Lead times on record pressing is way down from last year as capacity comes online, Capital investment is very high, there were a lot of people who were in the process of “starting up”. Vinyl sales has shown a year over year increase of 25% or more for the last 7-8 years. Can that trend continue? If it does not then some of these start-ups may not be around in 2-3 years and the older manufacturers may not be as willing to help the competition.

Question: Were the attendees responsive to the Bags Unlimited products that you brought to show like our poly, paper inner and outer record sleeves?

Kris and all the Bags Unlimited product samples.

Kris: We met a ton of existing customers which was on my list of things to do. We also met potential new customers. Pete and I were able to write down quite a few “I wish there was something out there like ____” ideas. The products (mostly paper and plastic sleeves) that we had on our table were the icebreaker for conversation. We asked “can we do more” and that opened up a lot of conversations.

Pete: Yes, we gave out a lot of samples and will also be sending out sample packs to the attendees.

Question: Are there plans in the making for a “Making Vinyl 2” convention?

Kris: They would be crazy not to IMO. It will be even bigger next year. The panel discussions were the most interesting part for me besides meeting people.

Pete: There wasn’t anything definitive, however they did seem to give the impression that this was not a one-off.

We’ve noticed the Making Vinyl website is already talking about a 2018 event. Very good news as far as those of us in the industry who love Vinyl records. It’s great to see a medium which was on a continued decline in this age of digital music make such an amazing comeback. There is surely something to be said about a tangible object that creates such a warm and positive experience when listening to what artists and musicians create. It’s something that simply can’t be recreated with digital music. It’s great to see that a whole new generation of people will still be able to enjoy what we’ve been enjoying all along.

You can read more about how the conference went on the Making Vinyl News Page

Long Live Vinyl Records!

12″ Black Paper Sleeves

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