The Lexus IS Wax Edition revives the long-defunct idea of an in-car record player. Sadly, it's a one-off, so all those vinyl enthusiasts out there can't check this option to be able to spin some wax while on the road.
The vehicle is a collaboration between Lexus and Pitchfork, but the actual engineering comes from the Los-Angeles-based custom fabrication studio SCPS. Making a record player work inside of a vehicle is harder than you might think. The car is constantly bouncing around on the road, and there are changing forces from accelerating, braking, and turning. These factors could cause the needle to skip or affect the motor turning the album.
Gallery: Lexus IS Wax Edition
SCPS created a custom record player using 3d printing and a mix of carbon fiber and aluminum. It sits on a silicone pad to absorb shocks. A stepper motor and micro-adjustable tone arm keep the record spinning without skipping while driving. The player is located in the spot usually occupied by the glovebox, and it slides out when you went to listen to some music. The tunes play through IS' optional the 17-speaker Mark Levinson stereo with 7.1 surround sound.
Lexus and Pitchfork also commissioned a collaboration between the music producers Madlib and Kaytranada to create a double-single record for the Wax Edition. If you want it, the seven-inch vinyl is coming soon as part of the Vinyl Me, Please subscription service.
As of 2020, records are the most popular physical music format, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. Vinyl topped CDs for the first time since 1986 last year. Its market value grew 28.7 percent to $626 million, versus a 23 percent decline for CDs for a value of $483 million. Physical media only accounted for 9 percent of total American music industry revenue in 2020.