Holiday Records: fibre vital in carving out a global reputation.
Holiday Records co-founder Joel Woods is lapping up the culture living in Amsterdam – but the latest technology means he’s still keeping a close eye on his fast-growing vinyl record pressing business in Auckland.
Since August, Woods has been operating out of a shared office in the Netherlands capital via his laptop and high-speed internet, managing the company in sync with his business partner Ben Wallace and staff.
“It just means later nights and early mornings, but it hasn’t hampered my ability to do the job by working online in real time,” he says. “Chorus installed ultrafast broadband into the Wellesley St West premises in Auckland; we are constantly dealing with large audio and artwork files, downloading and uploading them to our audio engineers and printers.”
Without that, Woods says, his ability to be based overseas while growing the business would have seen both severely curtailed. Internet connection is crucial for the seamless operation of the pressing plant – and that connectivity is more important now than ever before with Woods in Amsterdam.
He and partner Fran moved there in August for “an overseas experience while we still could. It was well timed for the business, which is very much in a growth phase, and we have both Ben (co-Director) and our competent staff to ensure continued smooth operations.”
Holiday Records is a home-grown Auckland business which has secured a place on the world stage by helping local and international artists and labels press their records. They supply a variety of artists like Billie Eilish and Dire Straits to record companies such as Universal Music, Warner Music Groups and Sony Music Entertainment.Dean Pointon, Chorus Head of Business and Networks, says Holiday Records’ business is conducted largely online – and their high quality, fibre-based connectivity means Woods can not only monitor the production line from Amsterdam but help position his company for growth from 20,000km away.
“It’s a great example of how fibre can not only sustain a business dependent on things like huge audio and visual files – but can also help it grow.
“A slow internet connection or ‘badnet’ is the enemy of productivity for New Zealand businesses. With the right business fibre connection, SMEs and others can transform their business and keep up with productivity needs.”
Woods will be back in Auckland in 2023 to help oversee the delivery and installation of Holiday Records’ second automated vinyl record pressing machine.
The state of the art, automated machine can pump out a vinyl record every 24 seconds. It means Holiday Records will be increasing its staff from 10 to between 15 and 18 to run the machines and pack the records. The machines are also always connected to fibre to ensure both Wallace and Woods can monitor output and diagnose problems when not on site.
“We’ve had a six-month waiting list for the past 12 months and we continue to work around the clock,” says Woods. “It shows how busy we are and we thought it would be beneficial to take advantage of the demand and get another machine and reduce the turnaround time for our clients. It will ultimately double our pressing capacity.
“We’ve pushed it to the max and still can’t keep up,” says Woods. “The industry worldwide is booming and every manufacturer, like us, is experiencing the same demand.”
“CDs have died out and vinyl record sales have come alive,” he says. Why? “Vinyl is a physical medium and listeners like to hold and own an album compared with streaming. They can’t physically hand over a playlist to their kids, but they can give them their cherished record collection. It gives more meaning to music.”
Holiday Records is still the only vinyl record pressing plant in New Zealand – Australia has three – and during the past 12 months the company pressed some 250,000 records. Seventy per cent of them were exported to countries such as United States, UK, Japan, South Korea, Canada, Germany and Netherlands, but mostly to Australia.
“We get orders from small garage bands up to big international artists. We can get orders for anything from brand new albums from small independent local labels to constant re-releases from the bigger ones,” says Woods.
Holiday Records’ client base is now mainly 50-50 between New Zealand and Australia with “the odd jobs for Europe, Asia and the US,” says Woods.
Born and bred in Taupō, Woods went to Otago University and graduated with two degrees – law and commerce, majoring in marketing and design. He became a criminal defence lawyer for a year working for Auckland Barrister Ron Mansfield QC.
Woods met Wallace at university – Wallace completed a commerce degree, majoring in economics and music – and they flatted together for a time in New York. Holiday Records was Wallace’s idea, Woods says: “He was in a band in New Zealand and wanted to get some records pressed. He couldn’t do that here. The only pressing plant was in Australia and it was flat out - that’s where the Holiday Records journey started.
Pointon says: “Holiday Records is a great example of fibre enabling two Kiwi entrepreneurs to create a business that they love, while still having the flexibility to travel, and maintain business momentum. The technology will continue to improve and New Zealand’s fibre network has been built to handle future innovation, so there is a tonne of capacity there.”