Leeds firm launches world’s first new vinyl jukebox for two decades

The Rocket Vinyl Jukebox prototype is introduced by Chris Black, director of by Soundleisure in Leeds.
The Rocket Vinyl Jukebox prototype is introduced by Chris Black, director of by Soundleisure in Leeds.
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THEY WERE the machines on which the soundtrack to three generations was played.

But in an era of digital down­loads, the traditional jukebox, without which no self-respecting coffee house was once complete, has fallen largely silent.

Now, a Leeds company is hoping to change that, with the launch of what it believes is the world’s first new vinyl jukebox for two decades.

The hand-made Rocket, which can play the A and B sides of 70 discs, will sell for £8,000.

Chris Black, whose 
Leeds firm Sound Leisure is behind the product, said he hoped the recent revival of vinyl records would fuel demand.

“There is a huge list of people who are interested in our prototype,” he added.

The new jukebox can select from 70 vinyl records with a 140 selection, A and B sides, and will boast modern 
touches with bluetooth connection – but it wasn’t an easy task to drag something so classic into a contemporary world.

Mr Black drafted in a team of veteran engineers to create the disc-changing mechanism, including his father Alan, 71, who worked on the company’s first vinyl jukebox in 1980.

He said: “In the beginning it was quite difficult to find people with the skills and knowledge to be able to manufacture a jukebox that could accommodate 45s.

“We ran the original vinyl jukebox from 1980 to the early 90s and there was a cross over with CD and vinyl, and obviously CDs took off and bars wanted to have more selections with 30,000 tracks on rather than just a few hundred.

“Technology has advanced a lot over the years and the player mechanism looks a lot similar – but now we have things like octos instead of microswitches.”

The new model includes one concession to the 21st century – a Bluetooth connection to play music from a mobile phone.

Chris added that he was “extremely excited” about the new player.

How the vinyl revival unfolded

Despite vinyl records 
being deemed by some as antiques, there is still a desire for vinyl after HMV announced that they sold 
one record deck per minute 
in the run-up to Christmas 2015.

Supermarket giant Sainsbury’s announced earlier this year stock vinyl records for the first time since the 1980s.

It follows a similar move by Tesco.

Demand for vinyl records increased by 64 per cent last year.