It’s Record Store Day Eve. Vinyl nerds won’t be able to sleep tonight because of visions of limited-edition records dancing in their heads. Indie record stores across the world are preparing for the onslaught of vinyl-hunting hordes. (I have an event tomorrow in Toronto at a place that actually makes vinyl. Go here to RSVP. Free food and drink!)
These are heady days for vinyl. Sales have increased by double digits year over year since 2008. Here in Canada, we’re pacing 25% ahead of last year. Pressing plants can’t keep up with demand. Labels love the fat margins, something that also allows artists to make more money off vinyl sales than from any other format. Things haven’t been this good sometime in the late 80s. It’s all unicorns and chocolate, right?
My all these measures, yes. But how many people actually listen to the vinyl they buy? The answer: a little over half.
A new survey by the BBC says that 41% of those surveyed don’t actually play their new purchases. Another 7% buy vinyl even though they don’t have a turntable.
Does this make these people vinyl posers? Your first reaction might be “Yes! Absolutely!” But maybe there something else at work here: the human need to collect something.
It’s all fine to say “I have 2.3 terabytes of music on my computer!” That’s cool. But there’s something to be said for collecting music in its physical form so that it can be displayed for all to see. This takes us back to the days when your love for music was demonstrated by the number of linear feet of shelf space devoted to records, CDs and tapes. Obviously, a substantial number of people are collecting vinyl just for the sake of collecting it. To them, vinyl is like hockey cards, Beanie Babies and charms for a bracelet.
If that’s you, good on ya. We all need a hobby, right?