Over the past year the Music Industry has seen a significant rebirth of the once abundant vinyl record on a global level. Recent releases on vinyl by various artists have marked a notable increase in popularity of LPs, not only amongst older consumer groups but also younger listeners, with over a third of consumers being aged under the age of 35 (according to record industry body BPI). Adam Sherwin of ‘The Independent’ reported that these vinyls that were “considered a dead medium by the music industry a decade ago” have now seen a surge in their sales with “vinyl sales [having] quadrupled to 12 million units between 2006 and 2012.”
Despite the explosion of digital media as the mainstream medium of choice for listeners, due to its ease of sharing, relatively low cost and convenience; many music enthusiasts and collectors still swear by and prefer the vinyl record. Those that prefer the ‘old school’ music trend swear by its superior sound quality and physicality, as well as their often more elaborate and classic album artwork. With artists such as David Bowie, Kenny Rogers, Arctic Monkeys, Daft Punk and Vampire Weekend releasing vinyl LPs recently, both nostalgic and contemporary fans have proved there is a notable demand for the plastic over their digital counterparts. With events like ‘Record Store Day’, ‘Crate Diggers’ and ‘At First Sight’ further promotion of the ‘vinyl aesthetic’ is on the rise. The popularity of vinyl records as an alternative (or addition) to digital media is expected to grow even more in the next few years.
Steph Harmon, columnist for ‘the Guardian’, comments that there has definitely been a shift in attitude amongst music fans recently. He writes “the new generation of music fans has tired of music’s perceived disposability, which was heralded by CDs, represented by MP3s, and exacerbated by streaming services that the industry still hasn’t really worked out how to monetise. So a lot of us are heading back to vinyl.” Perhaps another possible reason for the recent resurgence of vinyl records could be that the music industry has suffered marked losses in the past decade as a result of online file sharing services and streaming platforms. Or could it be that vinyl provides a ‘gloss’ to the music listening experience that no other medium does? Either way, the vinyl revival has proven that artists and fans alike are still turning to analogue LP as a medium that provides what the digital world cannot.
Thanks to our intern Meena Iskandar for this article.