MusicWatch offers in-depth customer and market insight into vinyl music

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MusicWatch, an American research and analysis company, unveiled the results of the first study conducted in cooperation with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Music Business Association on the current state of the vinyl record market.

The study, titled “Revelations on the Vinyl Revolution,” offers a detailed look at buyers’ and listeners’ preferences and predispositions to this classic format.

Led by former NPD executive Russ Crupnick, MusicWatch has produced syndicated and custom market research solutions for a variety of clients, including major music labels, digital service providers and technology companies. Over the years, the scope of MusicWatch’s work has expanded to encompass virtually every significant musical development, from the impact of P2P piracy to the evolution of paid streaming services.

Their latest study, which was conducted March 7-31, surveyed nearly 1,400 consumers across the United States in nearly every lifestyle segment, including the general population and vinyl enthusiasts. It not only examines vinyl consumer trends, but also their psychographic behavior, including their approach to the vinyl buying process; their focus on sound quality and packaging and how this helps drive interest in the product category; as well as their interaction with other vinyl enthusiasts via social media.

MusicWatch results offer a number of insights into overall vinyl awareness and its effect on music fans across the purchase spectrum. For example, an estimated 18 million consumers aged 13 and over purchased vinyl in 2021, representing a 27% increase from a year 2020 heavily impacted by COVID-19. Among vinyl buyers in the past two years, 71% bought new records and 67% bought used. And 95% of vinyl buyers plan to continue buying the format over the coming year.

The MusicWatch survey also revealed that more than one in three buyers (38%) have been buying vinyl for more than 10 years and appreciate the authenticity and “warmth” that vinyl records provide. Those who started buying more recently also appreciate the sound quality of vinyl, as well as the packaging, features, and artwork that are part of the vinyl experience. Additionally, the number of artists embracing vinyl also influences these new buyers.

The vinyl collection is also very popular. Sixteen percent of buyers buy records just to own them, while 21% buy them to collect and listen to them.

Additionally, MusicWatch found that vinyl records had a positive impact on hardware sales. One in three record player owners and users say they intend to upgrade their record player or other audio equipment in the next year.

Vinyl buyers are also engaged not just in vinyl records, but in a wide range of music listening and purchasing options, including the latest digital streaming platforms.

According to Mitch Glazier, president and CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America, “This landmark research by MusicWatch highlights the unique role vinyl records play today. The report shows that vinyl helps fans support and connect with the artists and music they love in both old and new ways.

Portia Sabin, President of the Music Business Association, also said, “Our organization was delighted to support MusicWatch in its research efforts. Members of our Physical Trade Action Committee have worked closely with Russ and his team to help raise awareness of vinyl record retailers in general and their impact on their communities.

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