The Technics SL-1200 was not only the gold standard of turntables back in the day, it was the go-to for any DJ who was serious about the craft. You didn’t buy just one. You made sure you had two on hand. In the early days of DJing, that famous turntable was easily affordable. Today, things are a bit different.
The fact that digital technology practically killed the turntable market for everyone but DJs and home vinyl aficionados is not news. Panasonic saw that coming a long time ago. It killed the SL-1200 in 2008 as a result. Why produce turntables if no one is buying them?
What the company perhaps didn’t expect is the resurgence of interest in both vinyl and the product that DJs almost unanimously agree is the best turntable ever. So, thanks to petitions and popular demand, Panasonic did bring back the SL-1200 turntable … with a difference. While the turntables used to be affordable, the new ones weren’t. Depending on where you live and the value of your currency, one SL-1200 could cost you $2800 or more.
This turntable was resurrected for a very different market. Panasonic knows it has a huge DJ following. It also knows that DJs are not necessarily the wealthiest in the general population. The company figured that if it’s going to the expense and trouble of bringing back one analog product, it’s going to charge for that effort.
This is where things went kind of sour for DJs. Panasonic has put its marketing budget toward selling the SL-1200 to an older, wealthier crowd. The same crowd that doesn’t typically listen to hip hop. The company’s advertising focuses on the middle aged and seniors who still listen to the old rock music of their youth. It also focuses attention on an older demographic that listens to classical music.
Hip hop, the genre that took Panasonic’s turntable and ran with it, seems to have been snubbed. Do you think Panasonic made the right decision in ignoring DJs? Read the whole New York Times article here.