Sony hasn’t pressed its own vinyl records in nearly 30 years. But as music fans continue to gobble up high-quality records along with digital downloads, Sony Music will begin producing its own vinyl for the first time since 1989, according to Digital Trends.
Sony, in the past, had licensed the production of its vinyl records to an independent pressing plant, but with the global vinyl market expected to produce $1 billion in sales this year, Sony will begin pressing records in a Japanese factory in March 2018.
As Digital Trends notes, “Interestingly, Sony was a big player in the original vinyl downturn, having spent a massive amount of money in the research and development of the Walkman portable cassette player and the compact disc formats that largely replaced vinyl in the 1980s and 1990s.”
Even though digital music is so easily consumed by the masses, there is a growing subset of music fans who want the purity and sound quality that vinyl records give to the user.
But audiophiles aren’t necessarily driving new vinyl sales. Instead, Sony Music CEO Michinori Mizuno said the newfound interest in records comes from those who first hear music digitally.
“A lot of young people buy songs that they hear and love on streaming services,” Mizuno told Nikkei.
According to the Guardian, vinyl sales overtook digital sales in the U.K. for the first time last December.
“Now it’s everyone who comes in to buy it, from 10-year-olds to 90-year-olds, we get the whole breadth,” London record store owner Sean Forbes told the newspaper. “We now get a lot of people come in with their kids, and mum and dad want to start them off with a starter pack of good records. But you also still have the 65-year-old man who smells of weed who will always come into a record shop, stand around and then ask for something you haven’t got, and then leave. So it hasn’t changed completely.”