The Return of Vinyl: Are You Going Back to Black?
On 11th May 1991, 90 years after the first record was pressed, The Economist announced the death of vinyl in an article entitled ‘End of Track’ following London’s Tower Records decision to pull vinyl records from it’s shelves. Premature? In the years that followed few disagreed, as sales of vinyl records plummeted.
But in 2006, against all expectations, sales of vinyl records began to grow and they have continued to grow year on year, every year since then. In the UK, revenues from record sales have jumped from £1m in 2006 to £12m in 2013. This is also not just a UK phenomenon, as vinyl record sales have grown at an even faster rate in the US.
The Tennessean reports that America’s largest vinyl record pressing plant, United Record Pressing LLC has recently bought a second 142,000 sq ft warehouse in Nashville for $5.5 million to almost double their production capacities to meet the growing demand.
So who and what are causing this surge in demand? According to a recent ICM poll in the UK, in 2013 the growth was driven by 18 to 24 year olds, but in the last 12 months the biggest growth area has been with 25 to 34 year olds (26% have bought a vinyl record in the last month, up from 9%).
As for the reasons why, Tim Ingham, Editor of Music Week, has the following explanation:
“If a music fanatic can access all the audio in the world at the tap of a smartphone, they’re going to demand something packed with tactile reward. Ergo, vinyl – with its reassuringly heavyweight quality and more striking artwork – is back in.”
Interestingly, an April 2013 ICM poll revealed that 27% of people who had bought a vinyl record in the last 12 months do not actually own a turntable to play it…
Do you agree that owning music in a physical format is important? Or is it an unnecessary luxury for the average music listener, at a time when we are all struggling to make our money go that little bit further?
Are you a relatively new vinyl collector? What was your trigger to go ‘back to black’ and start your vinyl record collection?
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The Beatles’ album Rubber Soul in the final stages of production, November 1965, at the Old Vinyl Factory.