House of Marley looks to 'Stir it Up' with turntable for the vinyl renaissance

Joseph Wade, special to

An electronics company with an iconic name is hitching its fortunes to the resurgence in vinyl records with a new eco-friendly product.

The House of Marley, named after the late reggae star Bob Marley, offers a range of sustainable music devices.

It is launching a new turntable called "Stir it Up." The $229 device features analog to digital conversion via a USB port, allowing records to be recorded and stored digitally, and is constructed from environmentally sustainable material.

Sustainability is a foundation of the House of Marley brand, which is why the company is releasing the Stir it Up to coincide with Earth Day on April 22. Marley-branded electronics use a blend of bamboo and other recycled or organic materials, such as cotton and hemp.

Stir it Up turntable.
Source: House of Marley

Rohan Marley, son of the reggae legend who also owns a sustainable coffee business, told CNBC recently that House of Marley's emphasis on eco-friendly products are part of his desire to "bring life" to a sector like electronics, where manufacturing may not place a premium on sustainability.

"We, as the Marley family, won't be responsible for destroying the community," said Marley, the brand's ambassador. "We want to bring life. We want to enhance life."

That sensibility also extends to his Marley Coffee brand, where he bans chemicals from the Jamaican farm where the crop is grown.

"I say to myself, 'I'm a 'Rastaman.' This is my farm. This first has to relate to who I am," he told CNBC.

For Marley, sustainability goes beyond product manufacturing. He and his brother Ziggy used 1Love, the Marley family's philanthropic arm, to support a school near Rohan's coffee farm. Meanwhile, five percent of the House of Marley's profit goes to 1Love.

The singer Akon (L) and Rohan Marley are pictured at the House of Marley booth during CES 2017 on January 6, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Isaac Brekken | Getty Images

House of Marley's new turntable is the latest in a wide array of electronic offerings that compete in the same space as big brands like Sony, Phillips and Beats by Dre. However, the company's key selling point is the sustainability of its products, which Marley explained is a deliberate effort to disrupt a crowded market with unique designs.

The company's turntable arrives at a time when the old-fashioned method of playing music has staged a comeback.

In 2016, LP record sales skyrocketed to a 25-year high of more than 1 million, according to the British Phonographic Industry. In recent years, that growth has eclipsed digital downloads, and fueled a rebound in turntable sales, which according NPD research surged 16 percent in the year ending last February.

With the resurgence in mind, House of Marley thinks the time is right for environmentally friendly equipment. The company's modus operandi involves marrying technology to sustainable material. Earbuds, headphones and speakers are made of woods, leathers and REWIND, a House of Marley's trademarked fabric made from hemp and cotton.

"When you pick up a House of Marley product, it's not just about the music, it's also about how it's created," Marley told CNBC.

The Stir it Up will be available for purchase at the House of Marley's website, and in retail locations, on April 22.