Vinyl revival

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The Vinyl revival is the renewed interest and increased sales of vinyl records, or gramophone records, that has been taking place in the Western world since about 2007.[1]

The analogue format made of polyvinyl chloride had been the main vehicle for the commercial distribution of pop music from the 1950s until the 1980s and 1990s when they were largely replaced by the Compact Disc. Since the turn of the millennium, CDs have been partially replaced by digital downloads. However, in 2007, vinyl sales made a sudden small increase, starting its comeback, and by the early 2010s it was growing at a very fast rate. In some territories, vinyl is now more popular than it has been since the late 1980s, though vinyl records still make up only a marginal percentage (<6%) of overall music sales.[2]

Along with steadily increasing vinyl sales, the vinyl revival is also evident in the renewed interest in the record shop (as seen by the creation of the annual worldwide Record Store Day), the implementation of music charts dedicated solely to vinyl, and an increased output of films (largely independent) dedicated to the vinyl record and culture.

Though many sales in vinyl are of modern artists with modern styles or genres of music, the revival has sometimes been considered to be a part of the greater revival of retro style, since many vinyl buyers are too young to remember vinyl being a primary music format.[3]

In November 2014, it was reported that over one million vinyl records had been sold in the UK since the beginning of the year. Sales had not reached this level since 1996. The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) predicted that Christmas sales would bring the total for the year to around 1.2 million. However, vinyl sales were still a very small proportion of total music sales. Pink Floyd’s The Endless River became the fastest-selling UK vinyl release of 2014 – and the fastest-selling since 1997 – despite selling only 6,000 copies.[4]

History[edit]

In Canada and the United States[edit]

In 1988, the Compact Disc surpassed the gramophone record in popularity. Vinyl records experienced a sudden decline in popularity between 1988 and 1991,[5] when the major label distributors restricted their return policies, which retailers had been relying on to maintain and swap out stocks of relatively unpopular titles.

First, the distributors began charging retailers more for new product if they returned unsold vinyl, and then they stopped providing any credit at all for returns. Retailers, fearing they would be stuck with anything they ordered, only ordered proven, popular titles that they knew would sell, and devoted more shelf space to CDs and cassettes. Record companies also deleted many vinyl titles from production and distribution, further undermining the availability of the format and leading to the closure of pressing plants. This rapid decline in the availability of records accelerated the format's decline in popularity, and is seen by some as a deliberate ploy to make consumers switch to CDs, which were more profitable for the record companies.[6][7][8][9] But ever since 2007 the popularity of vinyl records has risen again, and in 2016 the sales of vinyl records in the United States were the highest since 1988, worth 416 million USD. [10] The largest online retailer of vinyl records in 2014 was Amazon with a 12.3% market share, while the largest physical retailer of vinyl records was Urban Outfitters with an 8.1% market share.[11]

In the United Kingdom[edit]

Similarly in the United Kingdom, the compact disc surpassed the gramophone record in popularity in the late 1980s. This started a gradual decline in vinyl record sales throughout the 1990s. But also in the United Kingdom has the number of sold vinyl LP records increased every year between 2007 and 2014 [12] As of 2016, the revival continued.[13]

Sales[edit]

NOTE: Many citations below include CD sales, not just vinyl sales. This chart should be reviewed and revised for accuracy.

Countries 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Global Trade Value $US
(SP&LP)
$55m $66m $73m $89m $116m[14] $171m $416m[15]
Australia
(SP/LP)
10,000 17,996[16] 10,000 19,608[17] 10,000 53,766[18] 13,677 39,644[19] 13,637 44,876[19] 21,623 77,934[20] 10,069 137,658[21] 277,767[22] 374,097[23]
Germany
(SP&LP)
400,000[24] 700,000[25] 1,200,000[25] 635,000
(LPs only)
700,000
(LPs only)[26][27]
Finland[28]
(SP&LP)
10,301 13,688 15,747 27,515 54,970 47,811 72,480 82,313 [29]
Hungary
(LP)
2,974[30] 2,923[31] 3,763[32] 1,879[33] 8,873[34] 9,819[35] 14,719[36] 24,132[37]
Japan
(SP&LP)
324,000[38] 212,000[38] 102,000[38] 105,000[38] 210,000[38] 453,000[38] 268,000[38] 401,000[38] 662,000[38]
Netherlands
(LP)
51,000 60,400 81,000[39] 115,000[40]
Spain
(LP)
40,000 106,000[41] 97,000 141,000[42] 135,000[43]
Sweden[44]
(SP&LP)
11,000 22,000 36,000 70,671 101,484 168,543 200,008
United Kingdom[45]
(SP/LP)
1,843,000 205,000 740,000 209,000 332,000 219,000 219,000 234,000 186,000 337,000 389,000 780,000 3,200,000 [46]
United States
(LP)
988,000 1,880,000[47] 2,500,000[48] 2,800,000[49] 3,800,000[50] 4,600,000[51] 6,100,000[50] 9,200,000[50] 11,900,000[52] 13,000,000[53]
  • Australian single figures for 2007, 2008 and 2009 are estimated.
  • In reality German figures are considered to be "a lot higher" due to smaller shops and online communities in Germany not using scanner cash registers.[54] One German record pressing company stated that they alone produce 2 million LPs each year.[55]
  • In reality American figures are considered to be much higher, with one record store owner, in a New York Times article, estimating that Nielson SoundScan only tracks "about 15 percent" of total sales due to bar codes, concluding that sales could now be as high as 20 million.[56][57][58]
  • In New Zealand, independent record stores in Auckland were reporting a five-fold increase in vinyl sales from 2007 to 2011.[59]
  • In France, the SNEP said that LP sales were 200,000 in 2008, however independent record labels said that overall sales were probably 1 million.[60]
  • In United States, 67% of all vinyl album sales in 2012 were sold at independent music stores.[61]
  • Vinyl revenues were at the lowest point in its history in 2006, with a total trade value of $36 million. The 2011 figure of $116 million, is higher than the 2000 figure of $109 million, but is still less than the 1997, 1998 and 1999 figures which were all between $150–$170 million.[14]

2012 Vinyl LP Charts[edit]

[62] US Top 10 UK Top 10
No. Album Artist Album Artist
1 Blunderbuss Jack White Coexist The XX
2 Abbey Road The Beatles Ziggy Stardust David Bowie
3 Babel Mumford & Sons Blunderbuss Jack White
4 El Camino The Black Keys 21 Adele
5 Sigh No More Mumford & Sons Lonerism Tame Impala
6 Bloom Beach House Tempest Bob Dylan
7 For Emma Forever Ago Bon Iver Bloom Beach House
8 Boys & Girls Alabama Shakes An Awesome Wave Alt-J
9 21 Adele Go-Go Boots Drive-By Truckers
10 Bon Iver Bon Iver The Wall Pink Floyd

Annual Best Selling LPs in the USA[edit]

Year Album Artist Sales
2008 In Rainbows Radiohead 25,800[63]
2009 Abbey Road The Beatles 34,800[63]
2010 Abbey Road The Beatles 35,000[64]
2011 Abbey Road The Beatles 41,000[65]
2012 Blunderbuss Jack White 34,000[65]
2013 Random Access Memories Daft Punk 49,000[66]
2014 Lazaretto Jack White 87,000[66]
2015 25 Adele 116,000[52]
2016 Blackstar David Bowie 54,000[67]

Graphs[edit]

Vinyl in the media[edit]

Films[edit]

Title Year Country Company
I Need That Record! The Death (Or Possible Survival) Of The Independent Record Store 2008 United States Unsatisfied Films[68]
Last Shop Standing 2012 United Kingdom Blue Hippo Media[69]
Sound It Out 2012 United Kingdom Dogwoof[70]
Vinylmania: When Life Runs At 33 Revolutions Per Minute 2012 Italy Pongofilms[71]
Vinyl Record strikes back 2013 Mexico CCfilms
Black Canyon – Faszination Vinyl 2014 Germany Jürgen Backhaus/Galileo Music Communication[72]

Television[edit]

Title Year Country Company
The Joy Of The Single 2012 United Kingdom BBC[73]

Radio[edit]

Title Year Country Company
The 12 Inch Single 2012 United Kingdom BBC[74]
78 Revolutions 2011 United Kingdom BBC[75]

On New Year's Day 2012, British radio station BBC Radio 6 Music, solely broadcast music on the vinyl format, with records coming from the collections of presenters and DJs.[76]

Record Store Day[edit]

The Record Store Day logo

Record Store Day is an internationally celebrated day observed the third Saturday of April each year. Its purpose, as conceived by independent record store employee Chris Brown, is to celebrate the art of music.[77] The day brings together fans, artists, and thousands of independent record stores across the world.[78]

Record Store Day was officially founded in 2007[77] and is celebrated globally[77] with hundreds of recording and other artists participating in the day by making special appearances, performances, meet and greets with their fans, the holding of art exhibits, and the issuing of special vinyl and CD releases along with other promotional products to mark the occasion.

In 2013, for the week of Record Store Day in the United Kingdom, 68,936 records were sold (an 86.5% rise from 36,957 in 2012). This can be broken down into 1,249 7" albums, 25,100 12" albums, 27,042 7" singles and 15,545 12" singles.[79]

Charts[edit]

UK Official Record Store Chart[edit]

The Official Record Store Chart is a weekly music chart based on physical sales of albums in almost 100 independent record stores in the United Kingdom.[80][81] It is compiled by the Official Charts Company (OCC), and each week's number one is first announced on Sunday evenings on the OCC's official website.

The chart's launch was first announced by the OCC on 17 April 2012[82] – at the time, British record stores were selling 4.5 million albums per year, and were contributing towards 95 per cent of the country's total vinyl sales.

References[edit]

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External links[edit]