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Manufacturers are having a hard time keeping up with vinyl record sales

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

As some people will know, vinyl records are popular again.

SCOTT DETROW, HOST:

That's right. According to the Recording Industry Association, vinyl is now the most profitable physical format in the business. I guess nobody's buying tapes anymore.

INSKEEP: Yeah.

DETROW: Some manufacturers can't keep up.

ERIC MUELLER: There's other companies who just don't answer the phone. We'll at least tell you we're not taking new clients.

INSKEEP: That's Eric Mueller, aka Skippy, the president of Pirates Press. He says record sales took off - you guessed it - during the pandemic.

INSKEEP: Chris Bell runs a smaller and more specialized manufacturing operation called One Groove Vinyl in Wimberley, Texas.

MUELLER: In the 15 years-plus that we've been running the business, the average turnaround time is probably about 14 business days. But right now we're pushing, like, five months for black vinyl.

INSKEEP: Like Mueller, his turnaround time has also gone up.

DETROW: But since things are jammed everywhere, Bell says the situation is leading to more business for his small operation.

CHRIS BELL: The other day, I just had a call from a band. They're like, can you just make a hundred to tide us over? Because a lot of these plants aren't taking orders until May of next year.

DETROW: Bell is not worried people will abandon vinyl, like the sour dough starters in the back of their fridge.

BELL: I think once you hear vinyl on a good turntable compared to, let's say, Spotify and stuff, it gets addictive.

INSKEEP: It is said to be a richer sound. And as for the long turnaround time, Mueller of Pirates Press says true fans will wait.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PATIENCE")

GUNS N' ROSES: (Singing) Need a little patience, yeah, just a little patience... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.