Music Industry

If you think that the vinyl resurrection is just a fad, think again.

[This is my weekly column for – AC]

I have a running argument with an industry colleague who believes that the resurrection of vinyl is nothing but hype.

“It’s a fad,” he keeps saying. “It’s not real. There’s no future in the format. It’s just a matter of time before it dies off.”

I’ve confronted him with all kinds of industry numbers, hard sales statistics, and endless anecdotes about how vinyl is more popular than it’s been since at least the late 1980s — 1988 was the high water mark — but he won’t budge. He just won’t admit wrong

Sorry, dude, but I’m about to throw more numbers and research in your face.

We can trace much of the vinyl revival to the establishment of Record Store Day in 2007, a Hail Mary attempt by Eric Levin, Michael Kurtz, Carrie Colliton, Amy Dorfman, Don Van Cleave, and Brian Poehner, a group of Baltimore record store owners desperate to save their dying businesses.

The success of the first event, held on April 19, 2008, took everyone (including artists and labels) by surprise. Vinyl sales have vectored upward ever since with nonstop double-digit year-over-growth.

Record Store Day now extends around the world, with annual events in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the UK, Ireland, Spain, France, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Italy, Japan, and Australia. RSD events have also been held in places like Turkey and South Africa.

The 2018 edition was the most successful. Here are the top-selling records for the week ending April 26, according to Nielsen Music.

Keep reading.

I followed up on the column on Global News AM 640 today, too.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37884 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

3 thoughts on “If you think that the vinyl resurrection is just a fad, think again.

  • Hey Alan, as much as I agree with you, my only concern is the pricing. Typically, a new record is now costing on average of $30. Sometimes even $35 or higher. This is my major gripe with the vinyl resurrection. For me, this does not allow me to do the “impulse buy”. With cds, I will see something in the music store and say “I’ve heard of these guys, I’ll take a chance and grab it”, because it’s only $12 or so. With records, that kind of impulse buy is gone.

    Just curious if you think the prices will start to come down any time soon?

    • This is a BIG concern. This is one of the things that could torpedo the sales of new vinyl. They said prices would come down when more pressing plants went online. Well, more plants are operational. Where’s the price decrease?

  • in 1967 Blue Note and Warner LPs were $4.79 for Mono, $5.79 for Stereo; Motown $3.98 and $4.98 etc. So the price has increased six-fold. Average income was $ 7,300, by 2016 it’s $59,000: an eight-fold increase. So the average Joe can buy more records now. Relative to total income, they’re cheaper. Maybe relative to disposable income they’re not, though durables were way more expensive before Walmart came along.


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