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Originally formed by Alan Black and Edward Moss in 1978, the company which is now run by Christopher and Michael Black employs around 110 staff. Sound Leisure specialises in the design and manufacture of commercial digital jukeboxes for the leisure and retail sector and classic reproductions jukeboxes for the domestic market. The company considers itself the oldest "self-owned" jukebox company in the world, having been controlled by the Black family for almost 40 years.
Sound Leisure's Classic Jukeboxes division produce hand made classic jukeboxes based on the classic 1940s and 50s American manufacturers Wurlitzer, Rowe-Ami and Seeburg. Sound Leisure remain the only company in the world to produce a "one-piece" wooden cabinet reflecting the original construction methods.
SL's reproductions were originally designed as commercial boxes, playing vinyl 45 records. Both SL's Mk1 and Mk2 vinyl changer mechanisms each facilitated 70 or 100 selections respectively, with the major difference between the two solutions been the drive method for the turntable (MK1 belt driver, MK2 direct drive.) Many of these products remain in operation today and the company still services and refurbishes these products at its Leeds based manufacturing facility.
At the start of the 1980s, Sound Leisure released the '21st Century’ 80 disc CD changing mechanism, production of which ran in parallel to the Mk2 vinyl mechanism for several years. The success of the 21'st Century mechanism enabled the company to develop from a small UK manufacturer to a global supplier, such was the effectiveness and reliability of the CD product. Sound Leisure continue to produce CD Classic Jukeboxes featuring the 21st Century Mechanism to this day, with a distribution network providing sales and product support for their Classic Jukeboxes globally.
In April 2016 Sound Leisure announced the reintroduction of a vinyl mechanism option to their Classic Jukeboxes product line. Slated for release in the summer of 2016, this would make them the only company in the world producing a vinyl jukebox. The new vinyl mechanism would be a substantially upgraded version of the MK2 solution incorporating many technological advances and feature improvements made possible by the advances in technology and electronics in the 20 year window since the original MK2 ceased production. In order to develop the mechanism, the company reformed the original MK1/2 development team (Alan Black, Phil Patterson and Dave Boardman) who collaborated with Sound Leisure's current engineers and designers to develop the solution. The Vinyl Rocket jukebox prototype was displayed at the Classic Car Show in the UK in April 2016 and resulted in extensive media exposure for SL and pre-orders for the vinyl box.
December 2016 saw the official release of the Vinyl Rocket, a 140 selection mechanism playing 7" 45 rpm records. This was the first vinyl playing jukebox to be manufactured by the company in over 25 years and the only manufacturer to currently sell a vinyl jukebox anywhere in the world.
All SL's Classic Jukeboxes are still produced as commercial grade products, suitable for use in retail and leisure sectors. The division has produced branded versions of its products for companies such as Doc Martens, Sailor Jerry, Jack Daniels and US brand Crosley.
Sound Leisure claims to be the first company to create and patent a digital jukebox. In 1988 the company demonstrated the world's first commercial digital jukebox. The product, named Nimbus, was initially demonstrated to a group of senior trade executives and press at the Cedar Court Hotel in Wakefield and then to an audience at the Novotel previews at Hammersmith in October 1988. The Nimbus was arguably the catalyst for digital jukeboxes as we know them today.
The company produced a range of digital jukebox technologies over a 20-year period, including the Sound Surfer, Video Surfer, VVS (Versatile Video Solution), Miletsones In Music and Venue Hub (VHub.) Of all the companies digital technologies, the Milestones In Music is the longest serving solution, originally released in 2007 and still in production today (May 2016.) The Milestones product concept was produced in collaboration with SL's digital content partner, SoundNet who secured exclusive access to Official Chart content from the 1950s onwards. At launch, the solution featured every single track to feature in the Official Chart since 1960 to the present day, with a unique 'date search' facility which displayed the exact chart and all the associated content for any date entered. The Miletsones product range was rebranded in 2015 to feature Official Chart graphics, artwork and additional Official Chart Company content, and continues to offer access to every single track featured in the Official Chart.
In December 2016 Sound Leisure announced that it would cease manufacturing a full range of digital jukeboxes and partnered with US Digital Jukebox company Touch Tunes to distribute and support their "Playdium" jukebox.
In 2006 Sound Leisure launched a new division, SLKids. Specialising in commercial grade children's play products. The division worked in collaboration with Dutch manufacturer Instore Kids Corners to offer the product to Sound Leisure's licensed trade and retail customers following the introduction of the 2007 Smoking Ban in the United Kingdom. The product line, which was originally formed of a combination of IKC and SL developed and manufactured products found immediate traction in the targeted market, with venues looking to attract family groups back to their locations in the wake of the smoking ban. In the proceeding years, SLKids expanded their operating sectors and now provided play and distraction concepts and solutions to a wide range of sectors, including retail, health care, leisure, transport.
Other SL Division
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