Vinyl: The New “Premium Experience”

Bought any brand new vinyl lately? And how much did you spend on that purchase? No, it’s not cheap. In fact, this old-school medium–hey, spinning discs are a technology that more than a 110 years old–is now being marketed as a “premium music experience.” AdWeek takes a look at that.

The resurgence of vinyl has everybody talking, and listening.

Maybe you’ve thumbed through a trend piece in The New York Times, crediting analog-loving millennials as the impetus for the revival. Or, you’ve read in Billboard or on Pitchfork aboutthe trouble that comes with manufacturing vinyl. Perhaps you passed through a Barnes & Noble store over the holidays to find LPs of current releases from Adele and Taylor Swift dominating displays in the music section. Or, could it be that you’re an audiophile who has more than 1,000 records stored meticulously in your apartment—and can’t resist rolling your eyes when yet another magazine piece proclaims that the ancient vinyl record has been resurrected in a digital age and might just resurrect the recording industry along with it.

There are also those like President Obama, and so many others, who got a turntable as a gift(a record player was the top selling home-audio product on Amazon this past holiday season) and are just now building up your LP collection, four decades after the medium was overtaken by the compact disc and declared dead—before the MP3 came along and, in turn, virtually did in the CD. “Even the leader of the free world has rediscovered vinyl,” notes John Sykes, president of entertainment enterprises at iHeartMedia, who gifted Obama—who gives a keynote address on the first day of South by Southwest in Austin, Texas—all of the Beatles’ remastered albums. “He’s a music fanatic, and I always bring him music when I see him. We have this joke: ‘You don’t get out and visit a record store when you’re in the White House.'”

Vinyl sales have steadily grown over the last decade, with 12 million units moved in 2015, according to Nielsen data. In the first six weeks of this year, sales are up 17 percent compared to the same period last year. Those figures define what Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at NPD Group, refers to as a “consumer-born trend,” one that’s impacting record labels, record-pressing plants, mom-and-pop record stores, electronics brands, retailers like Barnes & Noble, Amazon and Urban Outfitters—and, of course, marketers who are capitalizing on the trend.

Continue reading. (Thanks to Bobby for the link.)

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ 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.

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