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Sony to restart vinyl record production after three-decade hiatus

In this June 3, 2015 file photo, a DJ plays a record at a music bar in Osaka. (Mainichi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Sony Corp. said Thursday it will resume production of vinyl records for the first time in three decades this fiscal year through next March as the format sees a resurgence in popularity.

    The electronics maker halted production of records in 1989 as compact discs became the dominant format, opting to outsource the remaining business to Toyokasei 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 increasing eightfold in the last 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 users digitize vinyl recordings in high resolution.

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