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Czech firm, GZ Media puts vinyl records back into fashion

With 7 million records made in 2012 and an expected 10 million this year, GZ Media says, it is the world’s biggest Vinyl record Producer.

The vinyl retro-giants have made records for Universal Music Group, Sony Music and are now beginning to work with Warner Music.

Vinyl record sales hit rock bottom in the late 1980s, managers at Czech record Producers GZ Media, decided to store the timeless record pressing machines in garages, at the company’s backyard.

A decade later, the vinyl record producers started spreading around the world. The firm dusted off the idle presses, spinning profits on records for the likes of the Rolling Stones, U2, Bob Dylan and David Bowie.

Vinyl is an inscrutable animal,” Jiri Hasek, the company’s commercial director told Reuters. “Everybody is waiting for when the growth will slow, but instead it keeps accelerating.”

30 percent of GZ Media sales comes from vinyl record production accounts, which reached $93 million (1.8 billion crowns) last year.

The central record producer was founded in 1948, first as Gramofonove Zavody Lodenice and in 1951, pressed their first record. During the slump of vinyl sales in the 1980s, production became slim and by the early 1990s, GZ Media was producing up to 200,000 pieces a year.

According to the Official Charts Company, vinyl record sales in the UK, one of GZ Media’s main markets, reached 375,000 in 2013 year-to-date, which compares with 393,000 for the whole of 2012 and 227,000 in 2009.

For uber-fans of a particular band, getting the vinyl edition is a really important souvenir and mark of their commitment to the artist,” Steve Redmond, a spokesman for the Entertainment Retailers Association in the UK said.

He added vinyl was “an inevitable reaction” to the rise of digital music which offers little room for art and the kind of tangibility that people were used to. “It’s never going to return to where it was, when it was the lead format for the industry,” Redmond said.

But I think it is a far bigger niche than people anticipated that it was going to be and, at the moment, further continuing to grow at a fairly dramatic pace.”

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