On my last visit to New York, a couple of years ago, I tried to go vinyl-shopping but was disappointed to discover that all the old, cobweb-laced record-pile joints had shut down. It was good in a way because it saved me a pretty penny (not to mention excess baggage costs), but sad since it seemed that good ol’ vinyl was finally on its way out.
Now comes the news that vinyl record sales are actually on the way up. Though only winning a small share of the market compared to, say, digital music sales, the popularity of vinyl is growing more than its one-time competitor, CDs. In fact, vinyl sales globally over the past six months were close to 3 million units, which is a good 33% increase from 2012’s sales.
In the US (ie: probably mostly in New York), last year’s total figure was an impressive 4.5million records, a 350% increase on what it was half a decade ago (research by Nielsen Soundscan).
There’s no denying it, vinyl is experiencing a resurgence, and while it is only taking a small share of the market compared to the growing popularity of streaming services and digital sales, it’s possibly the only physical music format that is still experiencing growth.
Oddly enough, while vinyl records are selling more, turntables aren’t, which begs us to wonder if people are playing their fantastic plastic on some very old turntables. Or, if punters are buying vinyl generally for its novelty or collectible factors.
We ourselves have three turntables in the Cream office (very Carl Cox of us, yes) on which we’ve been spinning everything from old-school Grandmaster Flash to shiny new (but recorded to sound vintage) Tame Impala.
It’s interesting to note one of the biggest sellers in vinyl format has been Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories, shifting 32,000 copies. Other contemporary artists doing alright on the vinyl front include Vampire Weekend, Queens Of The Stone Age, Mumford & Sons and The Lumineers.