TOKYO (TR) – Digital is dead.
Panasonic announced on Tuesday that a limited 50th anniversary edition of its legendary Technics turntables sold out in under an hour, reports the Sankei Shimbun (April 12).
The company began accepting orders or its SL-1200GAE model at 10:00 a.m. Within 30 minutes, buyers had snapped up the entire domestic run of 300 units, priced at lofty 356,400 yen (or about $3,300) each.
“I didn’t think the price was too high as we have confidence in our brand, but I didn’t expect them to sell out so quickly,” a representative of Panasonic told the Sankei.
An additional 900 turntables will eventually be available for international sales.
Last year marked the 50th anniversary of the launch of the Technics brand. Since launching the SL-1200 in 1972, the company has shipped approximately 3.5 million units. With direct-drive motors for superior sound quality, the SL1200 became synonymous for reliability in the DJ community.
Decades later, however, sales started to slump along with the decrease in demand for vinyl records. In 2010, Panasonic discontinued the line due to “a decline in demand for analog products,” a Panasonic representative told The Tokyo Reporter.
Last year, Panasonic announced that it would be bringing back the SL-1200 in an updated edition. A prototype of a new version of the SL-1200 line was on display at the IFA trade fair in Berlin in September. The company told The Tokyo Reporter that new deck’s marquee feature would be a motor that improves sound by making rotation smoother.
The revival is due to a surge in vinyl sales.
According to the Recording Industry Association of Japan, approximately 102,000 albums were sold in Japan in 2009. Last year, the industry shipped 662,000 copies on sales of 1.175 billion yen, roughly 3.5 times that of 10 years ago.
Sales for CDs, on the other hand, have dropped by roughly 50 percent over the past decade.
“Demand for analog turntables has been on the rise in recent years as music aficionados once again find the value in the sound of analog records, mainly in the North American, European and Japanese markets,” Panasonic told The Tokyo Reporter last year.