Sony to resume vinyl record production to meet surging demand

Sony will resume pressing vinyl records for the first time in nearly three decades, looking to keep up with demand from not only nostalgic seniors, but also younger aficionados.

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(Photo: AFP/Toshifumi KITAMURA)

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.

As Nikkei reports, the first wave of albums lined up will be largely Japanese reissues and bigger contemporary releases, although the concerted steps taken by Sony to re-introduce its own pressing facility in the last few months augers well for expansion in this area, with the company indicating they will accept orders from outside labels.

Digital natives more accustomed to smartphones than turntables are driving the boom. “A lot of young people buy songs that they hear and love on streaming services,” Sony Music CEO Michinori Mizuno said.

Japanese sales of vinyl records have roughly octupled from 2010 levels to 799,000 units in 2016. Sony and Panasonic rolled out new record players last year, while Lawson HMV has opened three Tokyo stores specializing in records since 2014. Tower Records has expanded its floor space.

Vinyl sales outpaced digital music sales at one point last year in the U.K. In the U.S., 17.2 million units were shipped last year, with consumers 35 and younger accounting for 70%.

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