Vinyl Record Sales Rise

While the debate rages on as to how much of an influence on album sales online streaming of music has, one thing is certain, people are purchasing vinyl records in amounts not seen since the early 1990s. Why are music lovers turning back to older technology?

It is not as if the world is calling out for brick size mobile phones or dial-up Internet. The ‘two turntables and a microphone’ has not returned as the standard for DJs.  DJs have embraced the ease of use available from digital controllers and left the vinyl at home.

A quick look at the best-sold vinyl in the UK last year shows David Bowie 25th and final studio album Blackstar as the best-selling vinyl album of 2016. Followed in order by Amy Winehouse (Back To Black), Various Artists OST (Guardians Of The Galaxy – Mix 1), Radiohead (A Moon Shaped Pool), Fleetwood Mac (Rumours), The Stone Roses (The Stone Roses), Bob Marley And The Wailers (Legend), The Beatles (Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band), Prince & The Revolution (Purple Rain) and Nirvana (Nevermind).

Other than Blackstar and A Moon Shaped Pool, there is a definite retrospective influence in the sales of vinyl in 2016. Are the increased sales, therefore, being driven by the retirement home crowd too stingy to throw away their record players and face the small buttons of an Ipod? I suspect not.

I believe the increased vinyl record sales is being driven by a discerning public who long for the quality of the analogue sound. Whereas contemporary music has been dominated by digital production methods (recording, mixing and mastering) and is often aptly made to be heard with earbuds and streaming. Vinyl production has been made to be heard through the highest quality systems and big old boxed speakers. The sound output from the speakers is influenced by the room it is heard in, the way it hits your body and that analogue warmth can never properly be replicated by digital plugins. Long may the vinyl record live on.

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