I’ve been looking for vinyl sales data for 2009 and found some interesting information. From an October 23, 2009, Goldmine article , “The numbers are in: music sales are down. All across the board the music industry is taking a hit – everywhere except vinyl records… vinyl sales are up 124 percent. Vinyl shipments more than doubled year-over-year to $57 million, the highest level since 1990, said RIAA vice president of research and strategic analysis Joshua Friedlander.” From the RIAA’s own site , “Looking to re-energize your music collection? Give it a vintage touch. More and more artists, from your favorites of yesterday to today’s hitmakers, have released or re-released various albums in vinyl format. Now, we love all the different kinds of legal formats in which fans can enjoy their favorite tunes, but we can’t ignore the LP frenzy that has connected music fans of all ages. In fact, our own annual music shipment report shows vinyl shipments more than doubling last year to $57 million, the highest level since 1990! In November alone artists from Norah Jones to The Flaming Lips to Tom Petty will offer their new album releases in the format. So dust off your record player, check out the liner notes, take in the sweet smell of a fresh album and give it a whirl.”
The Vinyl rebirth is spreading and gaining traction. Brick-and-mortar music stores that specialize in selling new vinyl albums are appearing. The L.A. Times has a good article, “ In A Digital Age, Vinyl’s Making A Comeback ” concerning new stores in its market. Also, existing stores like Best Buy and J&R Music now sell vinyl records. Best Buy started a pilot program selling vinyl albums at 100 stores earlier this year. In Alabama, the Best Buy store in Huntsville is the first to start selling vinyl albums. Although I encourage you to read all the linked articles, I particularly wanted to include the following from the Goldmine article:
Beyond the baby-boomer generation, a new demographic of record-buyers is unfolding. “I’ve seen a true increase in university kids and beyond,” said Evan Chern, owner of Yesterday and Today Records in Florida. “It’s exciting to see a young generation that is into records.”
With music just a click away thanks to more affordable MP3 devices and digital downloads, why is Generation Y choosing to purchase vinyl?
“People older than me purchase records for nostalgia, but today’s crowds are purchasing the music to listen to it,” said Tim Schweiger, a 28-year-oid musician and record collector. Schweiger likes The Beatles on vinyl, although his generation “grew up with Abbey Road on CD.”
25-year-old collector Ben Hendrickson said, “If there’s an album I really like, I buy the vinyl – it’s worth the investment.” Unlike collectors who grew up during vinyl’s heyday, Hendrickson didn’t grow up with a record player in his home. “My mother thought they were ugly, so we never had one,” he said. Hendrickson began collecting when he moved to college.
Music fans witnessed music changing to compressed digital formatting and have heard the sound quality disappear, said Mark Hillstrom of The Exclusive Company in Appleton, Wis. “[Vinyl] gives a fuller frequency response; you’re able to hear a direct representation of what was recorded. A MP3’s sound is compressed so much it’s not a direct recording.”
Wolak says collectors, like Hendrickson and Schweiger, are part of the digital-music resistance. “I think they want to own something, rather than having 1,400 sounds on their iPod that they can replace in a week.”
Collectors across the country predict that vinyl records will overtake CDs. Wolak calls the new phenomenon the “vinyl renaissance” and says that he has switched his shop from selling mainly CDs to having 95 percent of stock in vinyl records.