William Malcolm

GZ Media Reports Record Year Amid Pandemic

GZ Media had a record year last year. Profit on revenues of 3.8 billion exceeded 700 million crowns. This year it should be even higher, it will approach a billion crowns, says the owner of the company Zdeněk Pelc. However, the amount of profit is limited by the enormous increase in the price of materials for the production of boards and their packaging, which reduces the profit margin for manufacturers.

Interest in vinyl records in the world is growing rapidly and production capacity in Loděnice is no longer sufficient. The company is therefore preparing to expand the press by a third. However, its production will multiply in the United States and Canada. “During this year and next, we are investing almost one billion in development, all from our own resources,” says Pelc.

Loděnická GZ Media sold out by the end of the year and has signed production contracts with the world’s largest producers for the next three years, which has never been possible in the past. “Unfortunately, today almost all inputs for the production of boards become dramatically more expensive. For example, the copolymer, which is the basic raw material for the material from which the boards are pressed, has risen in price for us by thirty percent, but on the free market by seventy, ”emphasizes Pelc. “Expedition boxes became more expensive by a fifth, nickel for the production of matrices by a third. We felt the most significant increase in stretch film packaging, which is twice the previous price, “he adds to the business situation after the pandemic.

This year, the manufacturer of gramophone records is completing and continuing to make investments worth 450 million crowns. “The largest amount invested around 150 million goes to the presses. Another 120 million was swallowed by the expansion of vinyl production facilities from the boiler room through the expansion of material production to new distribution systems. So far, we have invested sixty million in printing machines, “calculates the owner.

The company has already completed a new printing hall for 70 million and will open a new warehouse in Soběslav by the end of the year, which costs 35 million. The facilities for employees will also be modernized, including a central locker room and car park.

“We also plan to renovate the former production hall after the operation of the CD for about twenty million, and another hundred million investments are underway in the USA and Canada,” explains Pelc. 

Last year, GZ Media produced more than forty million vinyl in its mills in the Czech Republic, the USA, and Canada. One of the world’s largest and most prestigious manufacturers press plates for a number of the biggest foreign stars, such as Madonna, Lady Gaga, and U2.

“We produce and often participate in the design of a number of collector’s editions for the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Nirvana, and other world artists. These are beautiful products, which, in addition to gramophone records, usually include a large book with lots of photos, posters, picks and, in fact, anything that rock fans can appreciate, ”describes the exclusive products owned by tel.

In addition to rock fans who do not hesitate to spend hundreds of euros on expensive limited products, the company also produces for a number of current stars, such as Taylor Swift or Rag’n’Bone Man. Interest in gramophone records is also growing in the Czech Republic, although it is lagging behind the developed music markets in the USA and Great Britain. In the Czech Republic, according to the producer, the stars of pop and rock, both traditional and new, fly on vinyl.

“We produce a lot of records for a generation that still remembers what a gramophone is, and they buy Věra Špinarová, Karel Gott or Maria Rottrová. Across generations, there is interest in Tata Bojs, Richard Muller and the bands Kryštof, MIG 21, Jelen and others, “Pelc calculates.

In Loděnice, they are interested in records mainly from the traditional publishers Supraphon and Universal Music. “But we have a number of examples where the band will be put into production by the band itself if its fans want the records. For example, Vypsaná fixa produced all of its records on vinyl, ”adds the owner.

In the production of music media, LPs have surpassed popular CDs in the past. “CDs and DVDs are long gone. At the time of the greatest interest, we produced about 160 million of them, current production has been reduced to eight million, “Pelc recalls.

According to the manufacturer’s expectations, the popularity of vinyl records will continue to grow for some time to come, but the pace will slow down significantly. Furthermore, luxury products of top artists and bands are to be promoted, while cheap music will remain a matter for the Internet.

The words of the owner of the giant presses are also confirmed by this year’s semi-annual data on world sales of music media by the analytical company MRC Data. According to them, the interest in vinyl records increased by more than one hundred percent year on year and exceeds the demand for CDs.

Vinyl has returned significantly to the scene in recent years. Last year, for the first time in 34 years, CD sales in the United States, according to the local record industry association, exceeded CD sales. In the first six months of this year, 19.2 million vinyl albums were sold, while CDs sold only 18.9 million.