Sony has announced that it will start pressing vinyl albums again after being out of that business for three decades. Sony last pressed a piece of vinyl in 1989. Its a rather interesting twist since it was their development of the Walkman for cassettes, the CD format and the Discman that lead to the huge decline in vinyl sales. The company has reportedly already installed equipment to cut and create stampers and will start pressing vinyl in the spring of 2018. This fits well with the turntable that Sony brought to market last year. Trying to bridge both the analogue and digital worlds, the Sony turntable has audio conversion from analogue to digital with a USB output.
Part of the Sony business plan is to bring back older engineers to operate the presses stating that these engineers know how to produce the best sound quality. I’d suggest that another option would be to purchase the all new Viryl Technologies WarmTone presses with all of the support from Viryl.
Currently, Toyokasei Co. is the only record pressing facility in Japan. At this point, production will be limited to Japan and it is not known if vinyl will be actively exported. Given that Japanese pressed vinyl has always been seen as higher quality, there is most likely a healthy export market.
I’m hoping that Sony’s re-entry into vinyl is as successful as the Walkman, CDs and the Discman – and not a repeat of Sony’s Betamax fiasco.