In 2014, vinyl sales in the USA topped the 8 million unit mark. That figure was almost a full 2 million units up on the previous year and more than 6½ million units more than sales of 10 years earlier.
CD sales figures over the same period dropped by a staggering 50% to reach 257 million units. Astonishingly, only Taylor Swift had a platinum selling album during the course of the year.
Vinyl is making a comeback, but why? There are a number of reasons in fact.
1. Driven by indie artists and fans
Many indie artists continue to produce music on vinyl. With the ebb and flow of popular music culture, certain musical genres move to the forefront over time. Indie music is currently making a definite resurgence with artists such as Jack White, Beck and Mumford and Sons, all receiving regular radio airplay. This in turn helps to drive sales upwards. A case in point, Jack White’s Lazareto was the biggest selling vinyl album of 2014, moving close to 80 000 units. These sales for a single piece of vinyl are unheard of in recent years.
Many people buying vinyl today owned records in their youth and now purchase vinyl for the nostalgia factor. They also have a greater disposable income, helping to increase vinyl sales.
3. Music is heard as the artist intended
In today’s modern world everyone looks for instant gratification, even when it comes to music. A large percentage of people do not buy a complete CD, rather focussing on purchasing singles off digital mediums.
Artists never intended their music to be heard in this way and a large group of music lovers agree. Vinyl is played from the first track to the last, just pausing to turn the record over. This is how music was meant to be heard and that appeal is helping to drive vinyl sales.
4. A different kind of sound
To vinyl lovers a record just sounds better, and they won’t be scared to tell you! Many studies have shown that vinyl can never give a better sound quality than CD, but it certainly is different in many aspects. Vinyl is also the only medium where absolutely nothing is lost in the recording process. Every sound recorded by the artist is reproduced on vinyl, unlike a CD or digital file.
5. A certain kind of ritual
Vinyl has a ritualistic appeal. From hunting for that specific record, eventually finding it, taking it home, admiring the artwork on the sleeve, placing the record on the turntable and finally lowering the needle and waiting for the music to spring to life. CD and digital formats just don’t have the same appeal.