How vinyl records made a miraculous comeback


In 2007, 1 million vinyl records were sold in the United States. In 2020, that number rose to 27.5 million. In the first half of 2021, 19.2 million were sold.

After returning from the dead, this will be the 16th year in a row that vinyl sales have increased. For the first time since the inception of the CD, vinyl has actually overtaken the compact disc in terms of annual revenue.

So, as streaming continues to grow rapidly, what is the driving force behind the boom in vinyl sales?

In an industry littered with marketing ploys and cheap gimmicks, vinyl records offer fans an intimate connection to music. Physically going to a store to purchase an album, holding the cover art, and listening to the songs in the intended order creates a deeper listening experience. The characteristic warm sound produced by a high quality vinyl turntable can make any music lover addicted.

Even though vinyl was popular in the 80s, its comeback was not caused by the adults who lived through that era, but rather by the young adult demographics. Since young people got their music digitally, vinyl has become a novelty.

According to Mark Hogan, editor-in-chief of Pitchfork, Generation Z is to be thanked for the boom in vinyl sales. He said: “People are often surprised that much of this is driven by younger people who have no experience of physically consuming music.”

If you go to your local record store, you will likely find a mix of new and used records. Used ones are often cheap, old and in massive excess. Although some older music is reissued on vinyl, there is a distinct difference between old and new records.

Newer ones typically cost between $ 20 and $ 40 and are often brightly colored. It’s the part of the vinyl collection that seems to get people hooked. Many records have the color of the album cover (sometimes a pattern), which perhaps leads collectors to feel the need to acquire as many colors as possible.

Some artists certainly have a stronger “vinyl play” than others. When making any purchase, customers want to feel that their money is worth it, especially since vinyl has the alternative of streaming. To boost sales, some records come with a full-size poster, credits, lyrics and a color record. It is no coincidence that artists with high vinyl sales lead album sales when vinyl is the main source of income. In 2020, these sales have gone beyond digital.

According to MRC Data, this was the top 10 vinyl album sales at mid-2021, according to the number of copies sold:

1. Taylor Swift, “Forever” (143,000)

2. Harry Styles, “Fine Line” (125,000)

3. Kendrick Lamar, “Good kid, MAAD City” (99,000)

4. Billie Eilish, “When we all fall asleep, where do we go? “(89,000)

5. Prince and the Revolution, “Purple Rain” (soundtrack) (86,000)

6. Michael Jackson, “Thriller” (86,000)

7. Billie Eilish, “Don’t Smile at Me” (83,000)

8. Taylor Swift, “Folklore” (82,000)

9. Queen, “the greatest hits” (75,000)

10. Fleetwood Mac, “Rumors” (73,000)

As vinyl sales continue to grow exponentially, no expert predicts it will dominate as it once did. Streaming is responsible for over 80% of the recording industry’s revenue, and that number is growing every year. Selling vinyl can save popular artists money, but for undiscovered artists trying to do so, the internet is a much more cost-effective way to get noticed.

For popular musicians keen to establish a connection with their most dedicated fans, selling new releases on vinyl is obviously profitable. As sales continue to skyrocket, you can expect more major players to release their projects on vinyl.

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