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Monday, 28 January 2013

The Renaissance of Vinyl



Some records, yesterday.




For the last couple of years I’ve noticed an increase in not only the amount of people browsing the record shelves at my favourite record stores, but also that there have been more teenagers and twenty-something’s. Also in the last five years shops that had previously only stocked CDs started to restock vinyl. Now some of these shops are also offering quality mid range turntables. Vinyl, it seems, is back.
Last week I stumbled across some stats about vinyl sales in 2012. Apparently in the US vinyl sales increased significantly for the fifth year in a row, and it’s a worldwide trend, with 4.6 million albums on wax sold, up from 3.9 million in 2011. But before we get too excited this figure only represents 1.4% of all album sales and 2.3% of all physical album sales.

In the UK it has been reported by the NME that the value of vinyl sales in 2012 increased by 70% after a steady increase over the last five years. UK band XX's Coexist album was the best-selling vinyl album in the UK in 2012, with Bowie's The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars second and Jack White's Blunderbuss third. In the US Blunderbuss was the highest selling record, with 33,000 copies sold. The Beatles Abbey Road was the second highest seller and Mumford and Sons Babel album was third.

So what about in Australia? Firstly I was pleased to see that Tame Impala’s Lonersim album was the fifth biggest selling release on vinyl in the UK. Looking around on the net I discovered that the number of vinyl albums sold in Australia in 2011 was 65,000, an increase of 18,000 from four years prior – not huge, but not a decline either. Check out this interesting article about vinyl in Australia and the growing trend to re-embrace everything that is great about the format.

This is great news for vinyl enthusiasts, with more quality pressings of new releases being produced, often on coloured vinyl or on 10”, with gatefolds and artwork. There is, however, a downside – it’s becoming harder to choose what to buy (not much to moan about I know…) and there is now more competition for quality second hand albums. All those converts looking for the ultimate physical sound experience are, in some cases, driving prices up and are also making it harder to source rarer albums. Still, if more people are buying new vinyl there will be more records to collect from this era in the decades to come. Speaking of collecting - over at the Dust and Grooves site there’s a feature on a guy who works at Third Man Records – a great example of the joy of collecting. Bought your turntable yet?

A turntable, last week

2 comments:

  1. Really like this article! I'm in my early 20s and in love with vinyl, so much so that I blog about it too http://forgottenvinyls.wordpress.com/
    The only problem I have with vinyl is the price as new records are often £20 or more. However, it does mean that every record I buy I'll choose carefully and invest in.
    Long live vinyl :D

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    1. Hey thanks a lot! I just quickly checked out your site and I can see that you have eclectic taste - something we have in common. The Faces, Hawkwind - cool. I've book marked your site. I haven't been very active lately - not enough time, but will be writing again soon.

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