Sony Music To Open Vinyl Pressing Plant in Japan

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The company stopped its in-house vinyl production in 1989.

Sony Music today (June 29), announced plans to open a pressing plant in Japan as soon as March 2018. Sony stopped its in-house vinyl production in 1989, relying on outsourcing to focus on CD production instead. But in 2016 while CDs took a backseat to streaming (on-demand audio streaming surpassed total digital sales for the first time ever), vinyl hit a 25-year high with 13 million sales according to Nielsen.

Sony's plant will join a growing list of initiatives that support vinyl growth. In 2017 alone, newly opened plants have sprouted in the U.S. from Jack White's Third Man Pressing in Detroit -- a 10,000-square-foot facility with eight presses -- to SunPress Vinyl in Miami -- a plant that uses machines and equipment that once pressed records for renowned reggae label Studio One.

Vinyl-only labels have also come into existence, with Warner Music's Run Out Groove and boutique London-based hip hop label Omertà. Sony's U.K licensing department largely helped Omertà secure its most notable title to date, Future's Pluto, and also enabled the label to secure Three 6 Mafia's Most Known Unknown and T.I.'s I'm Serious for release.

Earlier this year, Sony Music installed a cutting lathe in its Tokyo studio -- a possible foreshadowing of its forthcoming fully-functioning plant. As for the plant, its first wave of albums pressed will primarily consist of Japanese reissues and contemporary releases, according to English-language Asian publication Nikkei. Since there is only one active plant in Japan as of now, Toyokasei, the plant will also accept orders from outside labels.