Brooklyn-Based Vinyl Factory Keeps on Spinning in the Digital Music Age

PHOTO: Brooklynphono is one of the last vinyl pressing plants in the country.PlayABC News
WATCH Inside One of the Last Vinyl Pressing Plants in the U.S.

In a world where digital music sales reign supreme, it may be hard to believe that vinyl pressing plants still exist.

But some still value the sound of a good record. U.S. vinyl album sales rose to 9.2 million in 2014, according to Nielsen. That’s up from 6.1 million the year before. The spike, in part, has helped New York-based vinyl manufacturer Brooklynphono keep spinning.

Co-owner Fern Vernon-Bernich says there are a little over a dozen vinyl pressing plants left in the U.S., and her factory is one of them.

“Since we have niche industry, we’ve managed to always attract that clientele," Vernon-Bernich said.

Vernon-Bernich and her husband, Thomas Bernich, opened Brooklynphono nearly 15 years ago, initially starting with struggling artists. Since then, their clientele has grown to include art galleries, mainstream artists and fashion designers who use vinyl records as props for their shows.

“In the past we could turn a record around in three to four weeks, and now it takes us fourteen weeks to get our client the product,” Vernon-Bernich said.

With limited space in their one-story Brooklyn factory, the pair are trying to maximize their resources for a faster turnaround. “What we are doing is making our factory more proficient so we can produce more in a shorter time span, increase cycle time with the machine and try to make everything highly effective,” Vernon-Bernich said.

While there’s no doubt the rise of digital music has had an effect on their sales, Vernon-Bernich believes digital and vinyl actually go hand in hand.

“Our clients are using both formats,” she said.

As music continues to evolve, Vernon-Bernich still sees Brooklynphono being part of it.

“Every year, there's a new moment, there's a new movement, there's a new type of music, and then it dissolves but we get to share in what that moment is.... We get to be part of our client’s moments,” she said.

Those moments, she hopes, will keep Brooklynphono spinning into the next era.