[From Tokyo Reporter, October 28, 2010]
❚ PANASONIC ANNOUNCED ON OCTOBER 20 that it is discontinuing the audio products within its Technics brand, most notably the legendary line of analogue turntables, of which the Technics SL-1200 MK6 is the last. “Panasonic decided to end production mainly due to a decline in demand for these analogue products and also the growing difficulty of procuring key analogue components necessary to sustain production,” the company said in statement.
Last year, Japan’s last remaining vinyl pressing plant, owned by the production company Toyo Kasei, produced around 400,000 discs from its multifloor factory in Yokohama’s Tsurumi Ward, a far cry from the industry’s peak of 70m four decades ago. Panasonic said that sales of analogue decks today represent roughly 5% of the figure from ten years ago.
The SL-1200 series turntable, which enjoys a massive following in the deejay community, had been in continuous production since 1972. Since then 3.5m units have been produced, making the brand’s purple and grey logo (Technics written twice) an icon in clubs.
Tatsuo Sunaga, a leading club deejay in Japan, nevertheless sees those who prefer analogue as too obsessed to allow the format to become extinct. “I don’t think analogue users will lose interest,” he said.