Sony Corp. said Thursday it will resume production of vinyl records for the first time in three decades this fiscal year as the format sees a resurgence in popularity.
The electronics giant halted vinyl production in 1989 as compact discs became the dominant format, opting to outsource the remaining business to Toyo Kasei Co. — believed to be Japan's only remaining record maker — and foreign firms.
Sony said subsidiary Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc. recently installed a press for vinyl records at a factory in central Japan. The unit had already set up a record-cutting machine to create lacquer masters at a Tokyo recording studio.
Demand for vinyl is on the rise, with domestic production up eightfold in the past six years. In 2016, 799,000 discs were made, compared with 105,000 in 2010, according to the Recording Industry Association of Japan.
Record players are also seeing a revival. Panasonic Corp. brought back its Technics brand last year after a six-year hiatus in production, while Sony released its first new model in eight years in 2016, letting customers digitize vinyl recordings in high resolution.