Sony gets back into vinyl

CityPress - - Business -

Three decades af­ter it aban­doned vinyl pro­duc­tion, Sony says it will start mak­ing records again on the back of surg­ing de­mand for the retro mu­sic for­mat.

A fac­tory south­west of Tokyo will be churn­ing out freshly pressed records by March next year, Sony Mu­sic En­ter­tain­ment said this week.

The Ja­panese gi­ant stopped mak­ing vinyl records in 1989, a com­pany spokesman said, as con­sumers flocked to com­pact discs (CDs) and other emerg­ing mu­sic tech­nol­ogy.

A ma­jor mu­sic mar­ket, Ja­pan pro­duced nearly 200 mil­lion records a year in the mid-1970s, ac­cord­ing to the coun­try’s record­ing in­dus­try as­so­ci­a­tion.

Sony was a ma­jor global player in the de­vel­op­ment of CDs, which have since taken a back seat to down­loads and mu­sic stream­ing.

Vinyl has been mak­ing a global come­back as it at­tracts not only nos­tal­gic older con­sumers but also younger gen­er­a­tions.

Ja­pan’s sole record maker, Toyoka­sei, is strug­gling to keep up with the resur­gence in vinyl de­mand, the in­flu­en­tial Nikkei news­pa­per re­ported.

Sony is now scram­bling to find older en­gi­neers fa­mil­iar with how to make records, it added.

Pana­sonic re­launched its leg­endary Tech­nics SL-1200 turntable sev­eral years ago as the mar­ket picked up.

Sony did not say what mu­sic it would re­lease in record for­mat. The Nikkei said the line-up would in­clude pop­u­lar Ja­panese songs from the past, in­clud­ing Sony-owned ti­tles as well as chart-top­ping con­tem­po­rary al­bums.

Global vinyl rev­enue will top $1 bil­lion (R13.08 bil­lion) this year, while sales of CDs and dig­i­tal down­loads con­tinue to fall, ac­cord­ing to es­ti­mates from con­sult­ing firm Deloitte.

In Bri­tain, where vinyl’s re­birth has been par­tic­u­larly pro­nounced, records gen­er­ated more rev­enue than ad­ver­tis­ing-backed tiers of stream­ing plat­forms last year.

– Daily Mav­er­ick

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