For DJs, vinyl has always been an important format of music. But what might not have been expected is the recent revival of vinyl sales for buyers ranging anywhere from millennials to Baby Boomers. With what began as an interest reserved for DJs and music collectors, has now become a demand big enough for Sony Music to start pressing records for the first time in close to 30 years.
After it was announced last February that Sony Music installed a record cutting lathe in its Tokyo studio, they’ve now announced that they will restart the manufacturing of their own records. Sony stopped producing records in 1989 to focus on CD production, a format that the company helped develop and market. While it’s not yet determined if the records will be sold outside of Japan, this is still good news for buyers itching for more access to the nostalgic music format. The new pressing plant is reported to open around March 2018 in the Shizuoka Prefecture outside of Tokyo.
There’s no denying the demand for vinyl is back. This past January, Guardian reportedthat record sales in 2016 reached a 25-year high. Deloitte predicts that 20 million people around the world will purchase a vinyl record this year. Even more interesting is that listening to music on vinyl is not the driving motivation behind sales — but that vinyl has become a collectible valued for the artwork and other physical attributes. According to a 2016 poll of record buyers, 50% of consumers identify themselves as “collectors” and 7% don’t even own a turntable.
While vinyl may remain a niche market, the demand for production is surprisingly coming mostly from the younger generations. According to Nikkei, in 2016, U.S. consumers 35 and younger accounted for 70% of vinyl sales. Digital sales and music streaming still remain on top, but the desire for a music format that is tangible could be a driving factor for the surge.
If the demand for vinyl continues to grow, other labels may be next in line to open manufacturing plants and the need for record engineers with the proper skills and knowledge will explode.
What do you think? Is the recent vinyl fad destined to disappear for another 30 years? We want to hear your opinion.