vinyl album sales

6 Reasons Why People are Buying Vinyl Records Again

Vinyl made a major comeback in the mid 2008 and I don’t think the format will become extinct any time soon. According to industry tracker Nielsen SoundScan, vinyl record sales reached 1.9 million units in 2008, and then grew to 2.5 million in 2009, to 2.8 million in 2010, to 3.6 million in 2011 (projected).

Here are some of the possible reasons why it’s back:

Sound Quality. Music aficionados say you can hear the difference in sound and that vinyl is better than CD or digital files. People have been listening to MP3s for more than a decade and when they listen to vinyl records for the first time, they can tell there’s something slightly different with the sound quality. Here’s one vinyl lover explaining why he likes the vinyl experience: “Records have a more omni-dimensional sound that really fills the room a lot better. LPs sound warmer, and you are more likely to notice subtle sounds and instruments” according to Andrew Schaer, owner of Hear Again Music & Movies in Gainesville, Florida.

Vinyls pressed today sound better than those pressed in the 60s.  This is because the original recordings are now digital rather than lower quality tape masters. The recording equipment used today is far more advanced as well.

Surface Noise. Part of the vinyl experience is the hum of the needle along the record grooves and the occasional crackling sound. Romantic, poetic, artistic people love this add-on. It adds texture to the whole experience.

Nostalgia. Those who are from the sixties and seventies miss the way they listen to music. Although digital music is portable and very convenient, they still like experiencing music in their living rooms. Digital music will never die, but it seems like we can say the same thing to Vinyl records.

Tactile Experience.  Some music lovers feel like MP3s make them lose out on any sort of physical interaction with the music they are listening to. It’s just music and nothing more. Everyone can have it, it can be shared, it’s free. But there are some people who like EXPERIENCING music. The experience of opening the wrapper, smelling the sleeve, actually touching the record are what most people pay for when they buy vinyl records.

Collectible. Vinyl record sleeves are nice to look at. They have more aesthetic appeal compared to CDs or tapes. A shelf full of vinyl record have more impact compared to a shelf full of CDs or a media player with billions of music files. Some people even buy vinyl records just because they love the packaging.

Valuable. Of all the music formats, vinyl has the most value. Vinyl records today might sell 10 times its original price 20 years from now. I do not think the case would be the same with CDs, or tapes, or digital files (snort!). Vinyl records in itself is more aesthetically appealing and more artistic and is therefore more valuable. Here’s proof that the aesthetics of the vinyl packaging affects sales.

TOP SELLING VINYL LPS OF 2010

1. The Beatles, Abbey Road (35,000)
2. Arcade Fire, The Suburbs (18,800)
3. The Black Keys, Brothers (18,400)
4. Vampire Weekend, Contra (15,000)
5. Michael Jackson, Thriller (14,200)
6. The National, High Violet (13,600)
7. Beach House, Teen Dream (13,000)
8. Jimi Hendrix Experience, Valleys of Neptune (11,400)
9. Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon (10,600)
10. The xx, The xx (10,200)

These are just some of the reasons why I think vinyl is here to stay forever.

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18 Replies to “6 Reasons Why People are Buying Vinyl Records Again

  1. I grew up with records nobody called them vinyl the hipster word used today. The big artwork and listening to the whole albums led to finding great songs not on the radio. People listened to the music back then they weren’t surfing their phone for bs. The crackling will always suck, and I was so excited when the cd came out in the 1980s. The smaller the MP3 file the more the music suffers. You can pay a little extra and get lossless MP3 that have more dynamic range than standard cds are capable off. In my opinion burning and MP3 at 128 is flat and sucks. I do a minimum of 320, and lossless for more dynamic music. lossless sounds better than any record. Records aren’t capable of the dynamic range of cds and lossless mp3s. If people want to pay double and stroke their bad beards go for it.

  2. Opinions, opinions, opinions. Tha’s what everyone is espousing. There is no “better” sounding format. It’s all about preference.
    Too be honest, I enjoy both. It all depends on the type of music.
    If I want to listen to some Techno music, digital is the only way(in my opinion), but if I want to listen to some folk music, it’s going to sound best from a vinyl record(again, my opinion).

  3. I am so tired of listening to over compressed digital music. So with that said, I went out and purchased a new turntable to play my old records and new records on. There is definitely a difference. And for those that say that they can share Music with friends. Well, that’s coming to an end. Because CDs and DVDs and Blu-ray’s and Encoded with the highest anti copy technology to prevent sharing and copying. So far, the technology has not been applied to vinyl. Whether It can or not that’s the question.

    People are talking about records popping snapping crackling. Have we forgot the CDs skip too.

  4. It caught my eye that vinyl records today might sell 10 times its original price 20 years from now! My dad has a record collection and we used to listen to songs all day during the summer. I might be able to convince to sell some to some collectors!

  5. I agree that vinyl CDs still make for a great experience and have a collectible quality to them. I don’t own a record player or any vinyl CDs, but I can definitely agree that the idea is very appealing. I might try getting some one of these days!

  6. For me, something recorded AAD is the best (and I consider myself a fairly good judge of music being a 30 year musician and teacher myself). The crackle and hum of records is simply annoying to me and hassle of putting on a record….no thanks.

  7. As a record production professional with roots established as a recording engineer at the World Class level, I can attest to the quality of professional-level digital recording. However, it should be pointed out that master mix-downs, post console, are typically recorded to 1/2″ reel-to-reel analog tape before, then, being mastered for mass production. Analog tape can be pushed to levels of saturation that give a mix a truly beautiful sonic quality vs digital dBfs. In fact, often times, drums and bass guitar are multi-tracked using analog tape machines like the 24 track, 2″ reel-to-reel Studer A827 before being for this same reason, before the tracks are transferred to a digital format I believe it is this unique quality of natural level saturation and compression just before a peak level that translates best on vinyl — over any other format.

    I say this with the caveat that only a true hi-fidelidity, so-to-speak, vinyl system is essential. Until recent years, I had not heard a system set up purely for vinyl. It was put together by another colleague of mine for his home. Vinyl systems are a tight niche— this friend drools over his next $400 stylus upgrade!
    (this is an extreme example, but I think I made my point).

    A special thanks to Sarah and her team for providing this thread!

  8. To sound its best the vinyl master plates need to be cut in the correct material. Copper plates DMM are better sound quality but Acetate is better for stuff with a really heavy bassline . Any use of a digital source as an original to master from will also make the vinyl sound worse as due to the way digital audio reproduction works it is impossible for it sound as good as analogue. DAT was a dreadful screechy sounding medium and used widely in the 90’s to cut from.

  9. ugh… I really shouldn’t be getting involved here, but here’s my 6 point rebuttal:
    1: Sound Quality – The author makes the peculiar mistake of comparing vinyl to mp3s, not high quality FLACs, which are obviously the best format to listen to anything in. Any difference in sound quality comes from a mastering difference. The sub-point about recording equipment being better now is dumb because obviously that applies to all formats.
    2: Surface Noise – can fuck off. Seriously, I don’t want anything in my music other than the music. If you crave these pops and clicks so badly you can’t be helped.
    3: Nostalgia – Is nothing to do with music, get over it. The point is made that vinyl will never die because of this, but obviously the original nostalgic vinyl buying crowd WILL die! what a terrible point.
    4: Tactile Experience – As the author states, is nothing to do with the actual music, which is the thing I want music for.
    5: Collectible – So what? “A shelf full of vinyl has more impact”… poser – personally I’d much prefer an exquisitely organised digital collection which is fully backed up and I can share with my friends, the quality never fading. If you care about the packaging so much, buy a poster or something – or yes – buy the vinyl and put it on your wall, but this is nothing to do with the actual vinyl being better is it?
    6: Valuable – invalid point=0.

  10. People buying vinyl records are just like Apple fans: they do it because they are posers. Vinyl is not better than CD as much as Apple is not better than Android or PC. It’s just falling in the trap that marketing has placed in front of them. They think their choices are better because they are pricier. In facts, they are more mainstream than ever.

  11. Seriously abbey rd? Goddamn people need to get over the beatles hype. THEY WEREN’T THAT GOOD!!!!! Pet Sounds beats the hell out of any beatles tripe.

  12. My family thinks I’m crazy and addicted because I love having that record and I love having that experience, I couldn’t agree more. Thanks for putting my feelings into words!

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