Photo credit: Chris J. Ratcliffe
Sony Music has announced it will begin pressing its own vinyl records again. The Japanese company stopped making them in 1989 after the rise of CDs.
The move comes after a surge in demand for vinyl in recent years. Since 2008, rapid growth in sales has “left vinyl press plants in the U.S., Japan, and elsewhere struggling to meet demand,” according to NPR. In December, The Guardian reported that vinyl sales outpaced digital music sales in the UK at the end of 2016.
Production is set to begin in March 2018 at a plant near Tokyo. Japanese newspaper Nikkei reports that Sony will release “popular older songs, mainly Japanese music to which Sony holds the rights, as well as the latest hit albums.”
It has been nearly three decades since workers at the plant pressed a record. As a result, Sony is struggling to find engineers who have experience.
“Cutting is a delicate process, with the quality of sound affected by the depth and angle of the grooves,” Nikkei writes, “and Sony is scrambling to bring in old record engineers to pass on their knowledge.”