Who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks or old media new features. Austrian startup Rebeat is certainly trying to prove it isn’t the case. Making use of European patent filed way back in 2016 and a $4.8 billion investment, the small company is starting to turn the gears to produce what it labels as “High Definition Vinyl”. Why? Because sales of physical media such as CDs and vinyl, for the first time in 7 years, just eclipsed digital sales.
The profitability of nostalgia should not be underestimated. It has given birth to highly successful and lucrative products who made an appeal to loving memories of the past. But looking back doesn’t mean you can’t also look forward at the same time, at least metaphorically. Which is why Rebeat is giving new old favorite an upgrade.
Creating HD vinyl requires tweaking the process just a bit. A stamper will still be produced but the difference is how that stamper is made. Instead of the conventional etching using metal styluses, a laser will be used to inscribe a 3D map which was, in turn, produced from digitally converted audio. The end result is vinyl that plays better, louder, and longer than your usual LP.
At least that’s the theory that Rebeat is working to put into practice. It still has to receive the big laser system it ordered, which expects to arrive in July, to produce test stampers. By September, the stampers will arrive at pressing plants to produce the first test batch of HD vinyls. Making room for fine-tuning and adjustments, Rebeat expects that the first HD vinyl will hit stores by Summer 2019.