Sony to resume production of vinyl records to meet rising demand

A shop manager shows off a period Japanese pressing of The Beatles' final studio album Let It Be at the RECOfan music shop in Tokyo's Shibuya district on June 29, 2017.
A shop manager shows off a period Japanese pressing of The Beatles' final studio album Let It Be at the RECOfan music shop in Tokyo's Shibuya district on June 29, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (AFP) - 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 south-west of Tokyo will be churning out freshly pressed records by March next year, Sony Music Entertainment said on Thursday.

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

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. It did not say what music it will release in record format.

The Nikkei said the line-up will include popular Japanese songs from the past, including Sony-owned titles, as well as chart-topping contemporary albums.