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Sony Joins Retro Revival With Vinyl Record Production To Resume Early Next Year

What is old is new again. For the first time in thirty years, Sony Music Entertainment will produce vinyl records. Production will resume by March 2018. Record production will begin again at a plant in Japan's Shizuoka Prefecture.

Sony installed record-cutting equipment this past February at a recording studio in Japan. Record-cutting is a precise art, therefore, Sony is currently hiring a number of old record engineers. Its lineup will include mostly older popular Japanese songs, but will also incorporate a few recent hit albums. There is no word yet as to which specific artists and songs will be included.

Thomas Edison invented the phonograph, a device that was able to both record and reproduce sound, in 1877. The phonograph disc record, commonly known as vinyl record, was the king of music reproduction throughout the twentieth century. If stored correctly, vinyl records could potentially last for centuries. The large covers and inner sleeves were also considered by many to be works of art.

Sony stopped producing vinyl records in 1989 once CD’s took over the music market. Sony even produced the first commercially available Audio CD player, the Sony CDP-101. Thanks to collaboration between Phillips and Sony, customers could purchase any disc or player from any company and use them interchangeably. This convenience, as well as the CD’s cleaner sound reproduction, led to their dominance throughout the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.

Records, however, have recently been experiencing a renaissance. Vinyl record sales have octupled in Japan, while last year 17.2 million records were sold in the United States. In the US, 70% of these customers were 30 years old or younger. Over the last few years, there has also been a surge in sales of classic rock. Sony Music CEO Michinori Mizuno remarked, “A lot of young people buy songs that they hear and love on streaming services.” Sony will now join forty-eight other record producing companies in keeping the vinyl tradition alive.

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