Welcome to the newest edition of The Why. “Why do people still buy vinyl records?” you ask? Good question. Timely too. (Besides, it beats answering the question: “Why does my girlfriend need that fancy-setting showerhead when she has me?”)
According to Denise Geurra of NPR/MPR News “(v)inyl presses all across the country are feeling the strain as the old format (has been making) a comeback with a new generation.”
(Indeed it has and for quite some time and some of these NPR and other non-music press folks are just now noticing. In fact, thanks to indie music stores, the truth is vinyl never died. It just got better.)
Keith Caulfield of Billboard magazine stated: “Vinyl right now is really the only bright spot in terms of album sales this year.” He notes that prior to 2008 new vinyl sales were not quite high enough to “publish the numbers.” Things have changed since then.
In fact, in the past six years, vinyl sales have reportedly tripled. During the first portion of this year Billboard counted 6.5 million units sold. At present, 3.5 percent of overall music sales are vinyl. 10 years ago music tracker Nielsen SoundScan reported that the statistic was 0.2 percent.
Sales of CDs and digital downloads which still make up the majority of music sales are down. Caufield stated that growth in any segment of the music marketplace—in this case vinyl—is something to celebrate. Furthermore, he believes if that is where the growth is then vinyl records are a product the industry should “make more of.”
Geurra reported: “National retail chains like Best Buy, Urban Outfitters and even Whole Foods are taking notice. They now carry vinyl in some stores across the country.”
She confirms your rockin’ writer’s statement that “it’s the indie stores . . . (like Rhino Records in Claremont, California or Amoeba Music in Hollywood) that still make up the backbone of vinyl sellers.”
Still, why do people still buy vinyl records? Some music fans—especially those who share and make music mixes– enjoy digital but they also enjoy having a “hard copy” (CD or vinyl) for back up “just in case.” There are also kids who have unearthed their parents’ turntables and got into vinyl because they thought real records are “cool” or ‘retro”.
Geurra thinks folks who buy vinyl have numerous reasons that “range from the nostalgic to the curious.” Perhaps there is yet a simpler reason why people pick vinyl records.
Perhaps it is because they want to truly enjoy the album cover art. Perhaps they enjoy the free posters that some bands include in their albums. Maybe buying vinyl records makes it easier to read lyrics, album credits and liner notes. The listeners have a much better chance of “becoming immersed in” the recording artist’s original intentions.
Why do people still buy vinyl records? Now you know.
You ask the questions. We provide the answers.
American Live Wire . . . Listen and be heard.
(Here’s one for the ladies . . . who enjoy . . . records . . .)