Vinyl music renaissance in China

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Added On September 2, 2017

Vinyl music is enjoying a renaissance worldwide.
 
And China is no exception.
 
Chen Yingming is a vinyl music enthusiastic in south China's Guangzhou City, where he has been running a music store for over two decades.
 
Lifestyles talked to him about his love for vinyl music.
 
Chen's music store makes tapes and CDs, and most recently, vinyl records.
 
SOUNDBITE (Chinese): CHEN YINGMING, Music Media Factory Runner in China
"My son asked me to buy him a turntable when he was 18 years old. I asked him how he leant about this old format, as he should not had seen an LP before. He told me that it had become a trend in the west and you could buy a lot of good vinyl records on the internet. So I wondered why is vinyl back?"
 
He said vinyl fans not only include older music-lovers who grew up with analog records, but also younger generations who never had the experience of putting an album on a turntable.
 
Inspired by his son, Chen decided to ride the wave and start pressing vinyl in 2012.
 
In that year, all the vinyl production lines in China had been closed for nearly 20 years.
 
Chen and his partner Li Zhigang then went to the U.S. and Europe to look for equipment and technicians, but found only disappointment.
 
SOUNDBITE (Chinese): CHEN YINGMING, Music Media Factory Runner in China
"They said it's very difficult. If you don't have experience and don't know the special format, there's no way you can do it. I said I was very interested in it and asked them whether they could teach me. They just said we can't do it. It was impossible."
 
But the partners didn't give up. 
 
With nowhere to buy the pressing machines, Li, an engineer himself, spent nine months on developing his own vinyl pressing machine. 
 
After one more year of testing and debugging, his factory finally opened a production line in 2015.
 
Now the company runs eight lines, and each of them can press up to 800 records per day. 
 
It has been taking outsourcing orders from music groups both at home and abroad.
 
SOUNDBITE (Chinese): LI ZHIGANG, Music Media Factory Runner in China
"To press a vinyl record, we need to deal with the master disc first, both sides of it, the hold and the edge. Then we place the master disc on the pressing machine and of course the raw PVC discs. We need to carefully control the temperature and the records need to be cooled after pressing. When you play a vinyl, the pickup on the turntable will read the grains on the record and turn them into sound."
 
Insiders believe that the renaissance in vinyl will bring new trends, aimed at younger consumers.
 
Observers say fans may even buy vinyl records after hearing music on streaming services, so they can have the music in a tangible format.
 
SOUNDBITE (Chinese): CHEN YINGMING, Music Media Factory Runner in China
"I think this is a good news for the music industry as a whole. Many of our clients, especially the big companies, are paying a lot of attention to this new, or you can also say, old trend. Some are even counting on this to save their business, to publish renewed records or even putting new songs on vinyl. It's a new hope."
 
Consulting firm Deloitte predicted 40 million vinyl records will be sold worldwide in 2017, generating 900 million U.S. dollars in revenue and keeping two-digit growth for the seventh consecutive year.
 
Japanese electronics and entertainment giant Sony recently announced it will resume its vinyl production, after a 30-year hiatus.
 
Two major music publishers in China also plan to resume their vinyl production to meet the increasing demand.
 
Analysts say the global rebirth of vinyl production reflects not only an upward trend of music consumption, but also people's varied tastes in culture and fashion.