The door of SunPress Vinyl's Opa-locka record-pressing plant still bears the painted logo of its former days as Final Vinyal, but the progress it has made since opening less than a year ago is clear once you enter the office that leads to the six pressing machines.
Framed records pressed at the plant decorate its walls — one is by Venezuelan band Viniloversus and another is a special-edition B.B. King reprint. Posters of the Marley family, with whom SunPress has an ongoing business relationship, crown the wall space behind Yashiv's desk. The front office spills over with boxes, and recently pressed multicolored records are neatly stacked on chairs and tables.
Only two of SunPress Vinyl's six pressing machines are operational, but cofounder Dan Yashiv's goal is to have most of them up and running by the beginning of next year. A semiautomatic machine that will press customized picture discs should be ready in about a month.
SunPress has about 40,000 records on order. Accounting only for adequate records and "none of the rejects," Yashiv says his company can press about 1,500 records a day and be done with the backlog in less than a month. Turnaround time for individual orders is still only about six weeks — a revelation in a business where competing plants can offer a three-to-four-month wait at best because of extensive backlogs.
"We're far more efficient now than we were even three months ago," he says, "and hopefully in three months, we'll be even more efficient." One of the ways in which he's hoping to improve the plant's pressing capabilities is by buying additional machinery that will bring all aspects of record-pressing in-house. "This is the last stage, essentially, for making records. It doesn't start here."
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The first step involves cutting a lacquer disc from the artist's original master recording. Those lacquers are then used to make the metal parts for record-pressing in a process called plating. "Those two phases — the plating and the cutting — we outsource. Very few companies do it all in-house. So we officially want to do it all in-house," he says. Bringing all aspects of record manufacturing to SunPress would cut down on wait times as the business expands.
SunPress has turned to MicroVentures for financial support. MicroVentures is a crowdfunding site in the vein of Indiegogo, but it offers backers equity in the company. SunPress' goal is $50,000 to $107,000. As of this posting, the company has raised $47,194, with 11 days left in the campaign.
As the business expands, Yashiv is excited about the near future. The company survived its first Record Store Day rush and is headed straight into the next one. "February, March, leading to [April's Record Store Day], was very, very busy. We really scrambled to get a lot of records pressed. B.B. King was for Record Store Day." The special-edition record is pressed on red vinyl. "We'd never done color, but we did it." Now the SunPress offices are bursting with wax in colors ranging from hot pink to sea glass.
Yashiv is thinking about the long-term as well. His competitive wait time makes it likely he'll get swamped with orders once more labels and artists learn about the company. Though SunPress works with major-label distributors, it's "really focused on the independent artists," he says.