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Interview: Dustin Blocker from VRMA

It’s one thing to love vinyl records and to enjoy listening to them, most people stop there. But, you might even go a step further and truly embrace vinyl culture and become a serious collector, there are plenty of those folks, too. But it’s a whole other ball of wax to learn the ins and outs of actually creating discs and becoming involved in the manufacturing process. That’s just what Dustin Blocker has done. 

Originally, Dustin was a musician who soon turned his attention to the record label industry by founding North Texas-based artist-centric record label Hand Drawn Records in 2011. A few years later, in 2014, he started Hand Drawn Pressing as the vinyl record manufacturing arm for the company. Dustin is Chief Creative Officer of Hand Drawn Records and Hand Drawn Pressing. 

Just before the pandemic hit, Dustin became interested in what other vinyl manufacturers were doing to make their businesses run at their peak levels. Instead of being suspicious of his competition, Dustin - with a few other manufacturers - created a vinyl manufacturing collective known as The Vinyl Record Manufacturers Association (the VRMA) which is a professional trade association of independent businesses committed to the craft of vinyl record manufacturing through collaboration, advocacy, standardization, and education. Blocker currently serves as the group's president.

So, if you’d like a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes workings of the vinyl industry, keep listening as Dustin and I talk about the viability of vinyl as a long-term audio product, how manufacturing of vinyl has - and hasn’t - changed over the last century and how the industry works together to ensure that the polyvinyl chloride discs that we love of are of a sustainably high-quality for years to come.


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