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Vinyl Records are Back – Sony to Make Vinyl Records in Japan

Digital music sucks. Lets face it, your Apple/Microsoft digital music is pretty bad if played on anything other than your phone or iPod equivalent. If you listen to anything that is not synthesized music, you are missing a healthy percentage of what is there. Don’t believe me? Listen to a digitally downloaded version of a Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, or Thelonious Monk compared to a Vinyl version on any decent system. Gosh! Half the music got lost in the translation.

Vinyl is the fastest growing segment (and only growing segment) of the Music distribution industry Which is why the Millennial Generation is making a fast track to buy up Turntables, old amplifiers (especially vacuum tube) and speakers capable of producing. Look at the prices of what used to be relegated to the Yard Sale table! Even modest quality turntables made by the venerable BSR are selling into the hundreds of dollars. Vacuum Tubes? Yeah, those 1930’s generation technology devices long ago replaced by the transistor in the 60’s are making a comeback because of the sound they are capable of producing. The price of a modest tube amp versus its original outperforms Uber stock. We won’t even discuss high end.

Maybe I’m an old timer – but I enjoyed record stores…except for the usual teen staff who thought somehow that playing music at ear shattering volume would somehow induce you to enjoy it.

There is a business lesson here. Not everything new is good, or an improvement. I see this in the technology markets. The rush to adopt the newest shiny technological bauble often overlooks the key rationale of why the previous technology did what it did. Technology alone doesn’t solve problems – what it does is just fail faster because of the same human problems the previous iteration did. The Internet of today is obviously a vast improvement over the technologies which came before it. However it brings with it a number of issues, such as poor security which the old networks didn’t have much of an issue with. Lot of focus on making it faster, or more far reaching – not much thinking on how do we construct a system which by its design solves the major issues. Lot of thinking inside the very small box.

Gosh…I’m going to need a “new” tube amp to replace the one I sold 10 years ago. Lucky for me I kept the old Turntable!

If you enjoy Jazz Music from the 50’s through the 70’s this is very important. Th Japanese bought up all the original Analog tapes they could of Jazz Musicians, to feed their local market of Jazz aficionados. This could well mean some of that may be available in the original Vinyl format again.

Sony Will Start Making Vinyl Records Again In Japan, After Nearly 30-Year Hiatus

Sony Music is preparing to make its own vinyl records again in Japan, in another sign that albums are back from the brink of being obsolete. The company says it’s installing record-cutting equipment and enlisting the help of older engineers who know how to reproduce the best sound.

Vinyl sales have seen a resurgence since around 2008. And while records are still a small part of the market, the fact that in 2016 “a format nearly a century old generated 3.6 percent of total global revenues is remarkable,” as NPR’s Andrew Flanagan has reported.

Years of double-digit growth in record sales have left vinyl press plants in the U.S., Japan, and elsewhere struggling to meet demand. Sony’s plan reportedly includes the possibility that it will press records on contract.

As the creator of the Walkman and a co-developer of the CD format, Sony helped to end the era of vinyl albums. And while sales of digital music have been hit in recent years by the popularity of streaming audio on Spotify, Pandora and other outlets, Japan’s Nikkei newspaper quotes Sony Music Japan’s CEO Michinori Mizuno saying that when it comes to vinyl, “A lot of young people buy songs that they hear and love on streaming services.”

Fans of vinyl cite the rich sound it provides; they also say album art and liner notes gives them a more tangible sense of connection to the music they love.

Here’s what a 28-year-old record store customer told NPR about the format’s appeal, back in 2014:

“The way I consumed music has been so instant and so immediate, especially with Spotify and online streaming services,” Veronica Martinez said. “I kind of just want to go back to the way I used to listen to it as a kid.”

Sony has already installed record-cutting equipment at a Tokyo studio; it will start pressing records again in the spring of 2018 — nearly three decades after it made its last in-house vinyl back in 1989.

“Cutting is a delicate process, with the quality of sound affected by the depth and angle of the grooves,” Nikkei reports, “and Sony is scrambling to bring in old record engineers to pass on their knowledge.”

With the move, Sony will make records that could be played on the new turntable it sent to market last year — although we’ll note that the player includes an audio converter and a USB outlet for converting songs into digital files.

At the end of 2016, sales of vinyl records outpaced digital music sales for the first time in the U.K., as The Guardian reported.

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