The Tower Records Tokyo store in Shinjuku is cashing in on the Japanese market’s resurgence of interest in vinyl records.
While Tower has sold records for a long time, the Tower Vinyl brand is seizing on the global vinyl revival that has seen consumers worldwide take a preference to the physical discs, with all the nostalgia they represent, over the more ephemeral and invisible distribution of digital music. The store now holds 70,000 records in stock – the majority of which are second hand. The vinyl revival is blossoming just as streaming technology hits a new peak in the territory.
When the Recording Industry Association of Japan announced that streaming platforms overtook digital downloads last year, however, the association’s conclusions were criticised for failing to take into account any information regarding physical sales of music media and presenting an incomplete picture of Japanese music consumption. Vinyl records have been making a major comeback in Japan for some time, with HMV also launching a vinyl-album store in Shibuya in 2014 – having been absent for the district for several years, and now having expanded its operations since that time. Japanese artists have recently been releasing their music on vinyl, and – rather anachronistically – some 90s-era CDs have been reissued on vinyl record.