Shadow Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Richard Burgon MP visited Sound Leisure in his Leeds East constituency this week to see their new vinyl playing jukebox. The new ‘Rocket’ Jukebox is the first to be produced by the factory in almost 20 years and the only new vinyl Jukebox available anywhere in the world.

Sound Leisure currently employs 117 people, many of them highly skilled and the company is one of only two remaining manufacturers of classic styled jukeboxes. As such, it is experiencing unprecedented growth both at home and abroad for its products.

Chris Black takes the guests through the finer points of a classic bubble tube.

Chris Black takes the guests through the finer points of a classic bubble tube.

Vinyl is making a spectacular comeback and figures released last year showed that sales of vinyl now make up almost ten per cent of all physical album sales. In the US sales of vinyl are up 38 per cent but the figures are even more impressive in the UK, where sales have grown by more than 56 per cent over the past 12 months. Sound Leisure launched the new vinyl playing rocket at the recent Classic Car exhibition in London and has had enquiries from interested parties from all over the world.

Richard Burgon MP was given a full tour of the 80,000 sq ft factory, including a demonstration of Sound Leisure’s very latest Jukebox, which is set to take the market by storm. He was hosted by Chris Black, Sound Leisure’s MD, along with other senior staff and Simon Storer, Head of Communications for bacta; the Amusement Machine Industry trade body.

Speaking after the visit, Richard Burgon MP said; ‘It was fantastic to visit Sound Leisure in East Leeds and great to see jukeboxes made here in East Leeds being loaded up for Louisville, Kentucky in the United States. Leeds – and the UK – needs a thriving, modern manufacturing sector and superb companies like East Leeds’ very own Sound Leisure are showing the way ahead.’

Chris Black, Managing Director of Sound Leisure said; ‘We were delighted to welcome Richard to our manufacturing operation here in Leeds and for him to see the production of this new vinyl machine, which provide such a great opportunity for the company to expand its operation to meet future demand.

‘Although it is becoming increasingly difficult in this digital age to find people with the skills and knowledge to be able to recreate some of the components required to manufacture a vinyl-playing jukebox, it is an enormous tribute to the team here in Leeds that this machine has actually become a reality. We are looking forward to the summer when the machines go into full production.

‘Richard was able to see first-hand some of the skills we employ and to speak to members of our team who are part of this dedicated workforce.’

Speaking on behalf of the wider amusement machine industry, Simon Storer Head of Communications for bacta added; ‘Sound Leisure is a really great company and the work they do is indicative of the skill and expertise that comes from manufacturers across our sector. I am delighted that Richard Burgon MP was able to visit the company and I know he was greatly impressed by what he saw. Sound Leisure is one of many small manufacturers in our industry in the UK doing great work and providing skilled jobs and career opportunities. They are a huge asset, not just to manufacturing but to the wider economic prosperity of our country.’