Sony Helped Kill Vinyl. Now It's Doing an About-Face


As the Nikkei Asian Review reports, the company will begin manufacturing vinyl records in a new facility southwest of Tokyo in March of 2018.

Japanese sales of vinyl records have roughly octupled from 2010 levels to 799,000 units in 2016.

Sony and Panasonic both started selling analog record players again last year after previously giving up on them.

In a sign that the vinyl revival isn't a flash in the pan, Sony Music has announced it will return to making vinyl records for the first time since 1989.

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The move is an ironic one, because it was Sony that invented the Walkman and co-developed the compact disc - two technologies which rendered the vinyl record obsolete. Sony is putting in record-cutting equipment and bringing in older engineers who are able to get the best sound using the medium.

Sony's new factory will become just the second active vinyl pressing house in the region, alongside Toyokasei, which Sony hopes will place it in a good position to respond to customer demand.

Deloitte the consulting firm has forecasted that the vinyl music industry will post growth in the double digits for 2017 for the seventh consecutive year selling over 40 million new records and generating revenue of over $900 million.

Official figures showed vinyl sales were worth £2.4 million in the United Kingdom, compared to the $2.1m amassed from digital downloads.

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However, despite the popularity that now can be seen across the different digital music providers such as Spotify, the old school vinyl record has been enjoying quite a renaissance.

Sony is expected to produce records for Japanese classics as well as contemporary hits.

In Britain, where vinyl's rebirth has been particularly pronounced, records generated more revenue than advertising-backed tiers of streaming platforms a year ago. "A lot of young people buy songs that they hear and love on streaming services", he said.

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