Sony Music Entertainment said this week it will begin pressing vinyl records again, ending an nearly three-decade hiatus. This will be the first time the company has pressed its own records since production ceased in 1989.
Sony Music installed record-cutting equipment at a Tokyo recording studio in February, enabling it to produce the masters from which vinyl records are copied.
The album lineup is to include popular older songs, mainly Japanese music to which Sony holds the rights, as well as the latest hit albums. The news comes in light of increased consumer interest in records, and not just old ones: we're seeing soundtracks increasingly launch on new vinyl, including the "Ocarina of Time" soundtrack and the "Last Guardian" soundtrack. The Associated Press reported in April that several hundred indie music retailers have opened in the U.S.in the past five years.
The biggest challenge for Sony is a lack of experienced engineers for making records. Japan produced almost 200m records a year in the mid-seventies, according to the country's recording industry association. Some former engineers the company had are now holding advisory roles to help pass their expertise on to the younger ones, said the spokeswoman.
Sales of vinyl records in the USA grew in 2016 for the 11 year in a row.
The situation is similar in other developed countries, including Britain, where revenues from vinyl sales briefly surpassed those of digital music downloads last December.