Almost ten billion sound and data carriers in 65 years

The international media service provider Sonopress celebrates its 65th company birthday this weekend. On 22 April 1958, the starting signal was given in Gütersloh for a company that has been one of the most innovative replication service providers worldwide for decades. The celebration will take place with the entire staff and numerous guests from Germany, France, Great Britain and the USA at the Klosterpforte in Marienfeld.


The success story of Sonopress began rather modestly at the end of the 1950s. At that time, the production of records for several labels of the Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG) started in a small factory hall with only six presses. Annual production started at a few 100,000 black discs, but grew steadily in the course of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. "The peak was reached in 2007," recalls managing director Sven Deutschmann and continues: "In that year, a total of 380 million CDs and DVDs left our production halls on Carl-Bertelsmann-Strasse." Since its foundation, almost ten billion sound carriers have left the factory halls in Gütersloh, including one billion long-playing records, more than eight billion optical data carriers, i.e. CD, DVD and Blu-ray discs, and 700 million music cassettes.

Over the decades, Sonopress has not only grown at its headquarters in Gütersloh, but has also established various production facilities in Europe, Asia and North America. However, with the start of music streaming around 15 years ago, the worldwide market for optical data carriers began to shrink - slowly at first and then with ever greater momentum. This development also had consequences for Sonopress. Today, the company produces almost exclusively in Gütersloh, but delivers the different sound carriers of its customers to all relevant media markets in the world. Sven Deutschmann: "Among the clients who rely on our services are all the music majors, numerous game producers and world-famous Hollywood studios such as Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros. or Universal Pictures International."

"These days we can not only look back with pride and satisfaction on a company history that has been as eventful as it has been successful, but we can also look forward with optimism," says Deutschmann. Because in his estimation, the company's story is far from over. For example, vinyl production only resumed at the end of February after a break of almost exactly 30 years. In the pressing plant of the partner company Media Industries in Sainte Marguerite, France, Sonopress has since been producing records again on ultra-modern pressing machines, especially for its customer BMG. All the preparatory work, such as the processing of the delivered audio files, the so-called direct metal mastering or the electroplating for the LP format, is already being done in Gütersloh again, only for the pressing Sonopress is currently still relying on a cooperation with the experienced producer in France.

Milestones in the company's history:

1958 - Start of record production in Gütersloh
1969 - Production of music cassettes begins
1977 - Founding of the Mexpress record plant in Mexico City
1982 - Start of laserdisc or picture disc production
1984 - Foundation of Topac - a company for sound carrier packaging
1985 - Start of CD production
1986 - Bertelsmann takes over the RCA music division in the USA
1991 - Foundation of Sonopress Pan Asia in Hong Kong
1992 - Discontinuation of record production in Gütersloh
1994 - Establishment of digital storage media production in Dublin/Ireland
1997 - Start of DVD production
2001 - Start of production of the first Xbox console games for Microsoft
2004 - Presentation of the first storage medium with HDTV content
2006 - Opening of the Sonopress location in Yaroslavl/Russia
2008 - Celebration of the 50th anniversary in Bielefeld
2011 - Acquisition of the archive of Universal Music Group International
2018 - Market launch of Ultra HD Blu-ray with a capacity of up to 100 GB
2023 - Restart of LP production in cooperation with the French pressing plant Media Industries