Where “Made in the EU” Vinyl Might Be Pressed

These days a lot of Paul McCartney’s and the Beatles vinyl LP’s and CD’s have the term “Manufactured in the EU” or “Printed in the EU” on the back cover – even some that are for sale in the US. Here are just a couple of recent vinyl examples from my collection:

(Rear of LP cover – click to enlarge)

And titles in the McCartney Archive series including:

(Rear of LP cover – click to enlarge)

There are CD examples as well (though some of these do say “Manufactured in the USA”).This means these albums are being pressed (and probably in quite large quantities) somewhere in a European Union country. Many might think that means Britain, Germany, Holland, or maybe even France where they have a rich tradition of pressing good quality vinyl and are geared up to do so.

But then again, maybe not….

I’ve had an email from Russian Beatles collector Andrey. Remember back to Record Store Day earlier this year when Paul McCartney, as part of the publicity in the lead-up to the “Ram” Archives Series reissues, released a limited-edition 45 vinyl single of the song “Another Day“?

This was a collectors item reproduction single (including a nice picture sleeve) especially made for Record Store Day. “Another Day” was a song which was recorded during the “Ram” sessions. However it didn’t come out on the original “Ram” album . It was only ever issued as a single and was a huge worldwide hit.  The RSD release from earlier this year looks like this:

Well, Andrey bought that 2012 RSD “Another Day” single from a Russian internet shop.  The interesting thing is that while the small print on the rear of the paper sleeve states (as it does around the world) that the paper sleeve was “Printed in the USA”, one of the two stickers on the back of Andrey’s copy says that the vinyl record itself was actually manufactured in the Czech Republic by a company called GZ Digital Media.

The rear cover of Andrey’s copy looks like this:

And here’s a close up of that sticker:

(click on images to see larger versions)

If you go to the GZ Digital Media website you’ll discover that they’re a well-established and very professional outfit clearly geared up to do high-quality vinyl and CD pressing runs in large numbers if need be. The company’s vinyl “Products” page lists everything from mastering through to the production of 7″, 10″ and 12″ vinyl; shaped and coloured vinyl; and they even do the printing of covers and production of box sets if required.

That got me thinking about some other releases I have with “Printed in the EU” on the back.  The Beatles vinyl editions of “1” and “Love” for instance:

(Rear of LP cover – click to enlarge)

Is GZ Digital Media in the Czech Republic the plant where these were manufactured too?  Could be.

One of the articles I read about the forthcoming box set of re-mastered Beatles vinyl stated that one of the big logistical challenges Apple faced in planning the project was to find processing plant (or plants) that could physically cope with the sheer volume of discs needing to be pressed. They all have to be high quality and stockpiled in very big numbers for distribution. Perhaps the GZ  Digital Media plant is playing a part?

If you have any more info please join in the conversation.

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19 thoughts on “Where “Made in the EU” Vinyl Might Be Pressed

  1. Interesting. I think the way it works these days is that there are independent manufacturing and printing companies who do the work for the record companies, for a fixed price contract. That means competition among the manufacturers, in terms of the price they can charge.

    Although the EU broadly speaking has an integrated economy where individual countries can trade freely with each other (even using the same currency – the Euro – in most cases), there is still a massive difference between those countries in terms of wealth. Countries like UK, France, Germany, are much richer than countries like Poland, Albania, Czech Republic and so on, and it follows that everything is more expensive.

    What I think is happening is that the contract is offered out, and the countries I mentioned, where wages and materials are not so expensive, are able to do the work at a cheaper price, so they tend to get the contracts. That’s why a Beatles LP might no longer be made in the UK – it will cost much less to have it made in some other part of the EU and ship it over.

    As for the labelling, I’m not sure why some will name the country while others just say “EU” but I would guess it’s just something to do with import/export tax, particularly when these products move outside the EU (eg, to USA).

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  2. Great thoughts and contribution Terry. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. Its a competitive business within the European economic zone and therefore it’s all just referred to as “the EU”, but inside that the record companies are looking for the cheapest price to manufacture.

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  3. No wonder the LPs will be conducted in other countries, simply because the record companies only want to cut costs and save as much as possible. For example the book of the 50th anniversary of the Rolling Stones was made in China and we all know that most of the fakes and bootleg copies worldwide come from there.

    By the way finally released the video of the vinyl remastered, this was posted from the official page of YouTube Norway EMI. I can not wait for the release date to have my box set!
    Please copy the link to see the video presentation!

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  4. No wonder the LPs will be conducted in other countries, simply because the record companies only want to cut costs and save as much as possible. For example the book of the 50th anniversary of the Rolling Stones was made in China and we all know that most of the fakes and bootleg copies worldwide come from there.

    Finally released the video of the vinyl remastered, this was posted from the official page of YouTube Norway EMI. I can not wait for the release date to have my box set!

    Like

  5. You can clearly identify GZ vinyl pressings by the typical matrix scheme stamped in dead-wax (lead-out zone). E.g. 98578E1/A. See here:
    http://www.discogs.com/label/GZ+Digital+Media
    Sometimes also the “www.gzvinyl.com” url is present in dead-wax.
    Moreover, if you see any handwritten info in deadwax, you can be sure the lacquers/copper plates were NOT cut in GZ, but were supplied to the plant to do plating and pressing only.

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  6. The CD Apple box “Fresh Apples” released in 2010 was definitely made in Poland…if you check on the data side (not the label side) of any disc included you can read “www.takt.eu”, which is a Polish cd manufacturing company although on the label side is written “Made in EU” and on the box is written “Printed in the EU”…
    The same thing goes for the Pink Floyd “Discovery” CD box set released in 2011 so probably EMI has a contract with that specific cd manufactury plant regarding cd manufacturing…
    For the Beatles CD box set released in 2009, though, there is no indication on the data side (or anywhere else) about where they might have been manufactured in order to extract useful information regarding the vinyl pressings…

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      • The truth is that I didn’t really take a thorough look on the cds of the Beatles Box Set but after writing this comment and searching carefully I noticed that on the data side there is written an “optimal media production” logo which leads to a manufacturing company named “Optimal Media” based in Germany which also presses vinyls besides cds…
        So this company could be a clue to the answer “where are the Beatles vinyls going to be pressed” although countries like Poland and the Czech Republic can’t be excluded due to cheaper wages and material which leads inevitably to a cheaper contract between EMI and the involved manufacturing plant…

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  7. Newest information…on Amazon.com if you go to the discussion section listed as “Forums” near the bottom of the Beatles Vinyl Box set product page, click on “see all discussions” and follow the thread “Where will U.S. edition be pressed??” there is a customer Mr. Paul A.Cohen who indicates:
    U.S.A. pressing: Plating by RTI, pressing by Rainbo
    European pressing: Plating and pressing by Pallas

    I can’t be 100% sure about the information’s reliability but anyway it is a strong indication as we are trying to gather information from anywhere possible…
    “Pallas” is a plant located in Germany…

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  8. Just wondering where the Mono CD Box was made. I thought that was of high quality. The copy I have doesn’t have Optimal Media written on the disc just numbers and a bar code. I want to buy the best quality vinyl box like everyone else so why would ‘Pallas’ be better than ‘Rainbo’ and in fact is a Japanese version gonna be the best. Cheers from Australia.

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  9. The Japanese are the best in CD manufacturing…from the sleeve design to the CD making they are the top specialists in that category…a Japanese CD offers the best sonic experience…
    But when it comes to vinyl products most people indicate that the European pressings are the best…much better over the US pressings…At least that’s what I understand by reading all these messages on various “vinyl enthousiasts” forums…
    By personal experience I have many bad and many excellent pressings made on both sides of the Atlantic…my old Beatles LPs are Greek, UK, Dutch and German mid-70s pressings which indeed do sound very good even after all these years…

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  10. All the Beatles Mono CD Box Sets were made in Japan…that’s why we got the mini-sleeve replicas of the original UK mono albums and the high quality by means of listening experience…

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  11. I must say that all the Beatles or related products that I purchased this year in pre order from Amazon are shipped directly from Germany, which always caught my attention because these purchases are made at Amazon USA or Amazon UK. RAM Box Set, Magical Mystery Tour Box Set etc. have been sent by the German mail directly to my house.

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  12. GZ media in the Czech Republic is the world largest manufacturer of Vinyl records world wide. It is not about EU economy and lower costs in poorer countries like somebody said here. It is about tradition and professionalism. In addition, to put Albania and Czech Republic on the same level, is a bit odd (euphemism). It is the same like to say Japan is on the same level like North Korea.

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  13. Something perplexing. I just received a supposed Japanese version of the 2012, 180g Revolver. Upon opening the package I saw the attractive OBI strip as well as the usual bi-lingual lyric booklet that Japanese pressings usually include.

    Upon taking the actual record out, I was taken aback to find that the Lp was made in the EU and looked exactly as do my other U.K. versions of these current vinyls.

    Can anyone shed any light on this?? Are the Japanese simply including their booklet and outer jacket strip but utilizing all EU pressings for their product?? While I’m happy with the pressing in and of itself (I had been looking for an EU Revolver to accompany my less than stellar American, rainbow pressed copy), it’s certainly not what I expected.

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