in 2014, vinyl made a huge come back. Who would have known!
Today, fashion isn’t the only trending aspect about the 90s, but music too. In the dance music sphere, as more people appreciate hip hop sounds and R&B vocals, even more have fallen for the art of listening to and collecting vinyls.
The news in these past couple of days reported about the all time high in vinyl sales of the last one to two decades.
Vinyl album sales in the US from 1993 to 2013 via Buzzfeed
While vinyl album sales in the US reached the 6 million mark in 2013 (according to Nielson), the UK vinyl market experienced a total of 780,674 sales (according to The Official Charts Company). This year, sales have already overtaken last year’s figure, as it stands as almost 800,000 records sold today.
Vinyl sales could very well reach the million mark by the end of the year, which is four times the amount sold in 2008. The last time records hit a million sales milestone was in 1996.
The bulk of customers buying vinyls in 1996 are clearly not the same customers in 2014. If we look at what age group is buying the most vinyls (from 18-25 years old), vinyl customers today belong to the generation that grew up listening to music first on cassettes and CDs and then laptops and mp3 players. So, anything BUT vinyl. This implies that for our digital generation, buying vinyl stands as a relatively new behaviour.
The vinyl resurgence has become a hot global topic in the last couple of years, resulting in a range of plausible theories. One theory could be that cries from vinyl purists finally started to be heard, perhaps more so when interest towards the digital MP3 “revolution” or perhaps “take over” started to quickly fade. Many people could just be craving that touch or feel which was taken from their fingers once everything switched digital.
And this digital world may be just the reason why people have turned to buying vinyl.
Another reason directed at the digital sphere is the internet. Today, thanks to thousands of digital music encyclopaedias in the form of wikipedia, YouTube, Soundcloud, Resident Advisor and other content platforms, people have easier access to information and can educate themselves about music: it’s present, future and past. Perhaps many have realised the importance of supporting their favourite artists or found that their favourite old school artist only released music on vinyls. To read more about the reasons for buying vinyl, read up on our previous feature, “What’s with the Vinyl Hype?”
A spokesman for the BPI summed it up:
“In an increasingly-digitised world, it appears that music fans still crave a tangible product that gives them original artwork, high audio quality, and purity of sound”.
And who would have known that recorded music sales would survive the digital age, not because of some massive crackdown on piracy, but a rise in the market for vinyls, which, according to IFPI, “continues to grow as a niche product”.
Juan Atkins mixing vinyls
If we bear in mind dance music, vinyls aren’t only used for listening pleasure by the customer, but used for DJing too. It would be interesting to see how much dance music and the popularity towards electronic music have influenced the rise of the vinyl market. Although there are some statistics about EDM, mostly appearing in finance articles questioning its future and therefore lucrativeness, there seems to be little research about the underground dance music industry. Hmmm! One wonders why.
Moodymann sure loves his vinyls: “I like to feel my records you know like a woman, I’m not downloading my women, I’m touchin’ & feelin’ & (sniffs) smelling ’em”
We turned to global online record store, juno, to see what vinyls have been bought the most in the last 6 months:
Most chartered on juno in the last 6 months
|1||FLOATING POINTS||King Bromeliad||Eglo||15 Sep 14|
|2||KON/REFLEX||PYT||Star Time||19 Jun 14|
|3||PARRISH, Theo||Footwork||Sound Signature US||12 Sep 14|
|4||WESTON, Nik presents MARCIA HINES/JACKIE WILSON||Lost Soul & Funk Gems Volume One||Mukatsuku||19 May 14|
|5||ITALOJOHNSON||Italojohnson 8||Italojohnson Germany||06 May 14|
|6||TEN WALLS||Walking With Elephants||Boso||01 May 14|
|7||MOOD II SWING||Do It Your Way (remastered)||Groove On US||15 Apr 14|
|8||MOTOR CITY DRUM ENSEMBLE||Raw Cuts (remixes)||MCDE US||28 May 14|
|9||DUNGEON MEAT||Lose Your Mind EP||Dungeon Meat||23 Jun 14|
|10||FOUR WALLS/FUNKYJAWS||One Night In Grodno||Kolour Limited||27 Aug 14|