Oct 182013
 

[The following piece is copied from Financial Times, where “High quality global journalism requires investment,” and where our encouragement to “share this article with others using the link below” only leads to a page requiring readers to subscribe, that is, invest in FT. At the risk of bringing their legal team down on little old us, here’s what Links Linkerson wanted to share with us. – Mr Moderator.]

whoisit5

UK vinyl sales at highest level in a decade

By Robert Cookson, Digital Media Correspondent

UK vinyl sales have doubled this year to hit their highest level in a decade, thanks to surging demand from music lovers for LPs by artists such as Daft Punk and the Arctic Monkeys.

Some 550,000 LPs have already been sold this year – more than in each full year since 2003 – according to data published by the BPI, which represents British recorded music businesses.

With new records from Arcade Fire and Pearl Jam due to be released in the run-up to Christmas, the BPI estimates that more than 700,000 LPs worth a total of £12m could be sold by the end of the year, the most since 2001.

“We’re witnessing a renaissance for records,” said Geoff Taylor, BPI head. “They’re no longer retromania and are becoming the format of choice for more and more music fans.”

Vinyl remains a niche part of the music industry and is dwarfed by CD sales. LPs account for 0.8 per cent of all albums sold in the UK, although as recently as 2007 its share was just 0.1 per cent.

Albeit from a small base, the resurgence in vinyl sales is evidence of the resilience of consumer demand for high-quality music products. Vinyl devotees are attracted to the rich, natural sound of analogue records as well as the accompanying 12-inch artwork and liner notes.

The latest trend in the record industry is for LPs to be accompanied by a download code for mp3s, giving consumers the best of both analogue and digital.

Long the preserve of hip-hop and dance music DJs, the latest crop of vinyl buyers have diverse tastes in music from pop to heavy metal. The best selling LP so far this year is Random Access Memories by Daft Punk, followed by AM from the Arctic Monkeys and The Next Day by David Bowie.

In a poll of 1,700 vinyl buyers conducted by the BPI, almost nine in 10 respondents said vinyl was their favourite music format. For almost half of them vinyl accounted for the bulk of their music spend.

In a result that suggests vinyl’s appeal is about more than just listening to music, almost 4 per cent of respondents said that they bought vinyl despite not owning a turntable.

The poll found that vinyl was appealing to all age groups, with just over a third aged under 35. Just under half of respondents were married, and men made up the vast majority of the self-selecting sample.

Last year, 388,000 LPs were sold in the UK. By the middle of October 2012, just 270,000 LPs had been sold – half the number this year.

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  3 Responses to “For Old-times’ Sake”

  1. How I love these “vinyl is back” articles which we’ve been reading since at least the days of RTH v1.0 (I remember getting into it with someone back then). It’s easy to be a journalist these days. Cut and paste the same article from 10 years ago, change a few numbers and you are done.

    Oh, and make sure to include numbers that *look* significant. “Vinyl sales in UK expected to be 700,000 this year.” Wow, 700,000 sure looks like a big number. Unless you think about how many individual albums sold 700,000 copies back in the day. Or mention how vinyl now accounts for .8% vs .1% in 2007. Again, that’s 8 times as much – but it’s still under 1%! And it’s not clear to me whether the base includes downloads; maybe the percentage is much smaller. And that percentage would rise even if there had been no increase in vinyl sales because the total base is still decreasing; an article in August in Billboard (and how come Links didn’t send a link to that :)) said that CD sales year to date in 2013 were down 14%.

    And I wouldn’t look at the fact that 1/3 of vinyl sales are to people under 35 as the significant number. I’d look at the fact that 2/3s of vinyl sales are to people like us – old geezers dying off.

    Mr. Mod, diary this thread for this time next year…

  2. 2000 Man

    Yeah, I know vinyl getting popular with the under 35 set has helped a lot of indie stores, and doubling your sales in any category is great for them, but they’re a niche market. CD’s are becoming a niche market. The average listener is downloading, and even that is moving towards streaming, I’ll bet.

    But hopefully vinyl stays at least as popular as it is now. It’s fun to run into other people that like it and buy their music that way. I just ordered my new Dexateens Sunsphere EP, which is on colored vinyl with hand silk screened covers. That’s just cool!

  3. I just got my turntable and vinyl back from storage (20 years in storage BTW) and I am all about vinyl again, but USED not new. I am not looking to pay more than $4 (Elvis Costello – Trust) and prefer $1 (Pretenders, Squeeze) and $.77 (The Producer’s 1st LP). I have purchased more vinyl in 2013 than I have since 1995 (one) and before that whatever year Ill Communication came out (1993?) then you have to go back to Neil Young’s Freedom (half price at a store that was phasing out vinyl in 1989).

    I take it that they mean NEW vinyl though.

    I could see maybe $8 (the MSRP from the last time I purchased new vinyl)

    The $25-$35 stuff? won’t happen for me.

 
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