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Vinyl Records Enjoy Streaming-Led Rebirth in Japan After Three-Decade Hiatus

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Shingo Miyata, of Sony Music Communications Inc., presents the record-cutting lathe at Sony Music Studios Tokyo on July 20. | KYODO

 reports: Music on vinyl is enjoying a renaissance, with digital streaming services generating interest in records once more.

Japan’s electronics and entertainment giant Sony is positioning itself to embrace this latest trend in the music industry, with Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc. recently announcing it will resume pressing vinyl at Sony DADC Japan Inc., its disc-manufacturing subsidiary in Shizuoka Prefecture, after a 30-year hiatus.

Whether it’s because of their grainy, warmer sound or simply because vinyl makes a fashion statement, LPs and EPs are being snapped up.

“Some people are buying vinyl records after first hearing songs on streaming services. If they love the music, they want to own it in a tangible, analog format.”

But it’s not just a case of turning back the clock. Those buying music on vinyl are not only older fans who grew up with records returning to the format, but also younger customers who have never experienced putting a disc on a turntable.

“We had been discussing specific ideas for around two years before this announcement, as we observed how things were changing overseas and the corresponding trends in Japan,” said Aiichiro Furukawa, a corporate senior vice president at Sony Music, in an interview.

Record pressing and trimming equipment at Sony DADC Japan Inc. is shown in this handout photo. | COURTESY OF SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT (JAPAN) INC. / VIA KYODO

Record pressing and trimming equipment at Sony DADC Japan Inc. is shown in this handout photo. | COURTESY OF SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT (JAPAN) INC. / VIA KYODO

“We believe that music streaming services increase listening options for music lovers, influencing consumer behavior and ultimately revitalizing the music industry.”

Furukawa said customers want to get their hands on records — which Sony Music stopped producing in 1989 when CDs became the dominant format — after discovering their favorite tracks and albums on digital streaming services.

“Some people are buying vinyl records after first hearing songs on streaming services. If they love the music, they want to own it in a tangible, analog format,” he said.

“We believe that music streaming services increase listening options for music lovers, influencing consumer behavior and ultimately revitalizing the music industry.”

The company is aiming to roll out a variety of music genres on vinyl from around the end of this year or early next, according to Furukawa.

Sony Music will cover vinyl production end-to-end — from making masters to pressing records and packaging — all within its group, and plans to eventually take orders from other companies, too. Initial plans are for Sony Music artists and for distribution within Japan.

A cutting lathe was installed at Sony Music Studios Tokyo in February, and a pressing machine has been set up at Sony DADC Japan.

The studio and factory will integrate the … (read more)

Source: The Japan Times

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