Is Vinyl Really Worth a Billion Dollars?

[A look at the healthy–and getting healthier–state of the vinyl resurrection by Gilles LeBlanc. – AC]

That is one of ten heady prognostications for 2017 by Deloitte, the globally-renowned professional services firm that recently released a list of fearless technology, media and telecommunications predictions. The sentimental music lover’s preferred way of listening to songs has experienced an extraordinary renaissance in face of a digitally evolving world, what with biometric security and automatic car braking. Deloitte believes vinyl has earned a place amidst future forward developments.

To the tune of $800-$900 million, in their expert opinion.

Long playing records and associated audio accessories represent approximately six percent of predicted worldwide music revenues, but vinyl deserves special mention on account of its fervent, nostalgia-rooted fan base. It is currently and probably always will remain a niche audience, one eager to spend on items that can act as collectible conversation pieces; think of all the David Bowie discs snapped up over the past twelve months since his death.

Whereas Canada has seen inordinately astounding international success in the forms of Justin Bieber, Drake and The Weeknd, Deloitte admits the lion’s share of royalties are emanating from streaming services such as Spotify. Ask a local retail outlet like Toronto’s Kops Records, and they’ll flat out tell you classic rock still rules the roost with consumers. I’m sure a good chunk of U2’s 170 million records sold are on vinyl, although a little summer stadium tour celebrating the 30th anniversary of landmark album The Joshua Tree will go a much longer way towards padding Bono, The Edge and company’s retirement funds.

The Great White North has tried to do its part to keep up with this increased appetite, even if it has been tough sledding at times. Canada Boy Vinyl in Calgary opened just over a year ago to great excitement ahead of the National Music Centre’s Studio Bell, but appear to be in the midst of re-evaluating their operations. The even newer Precision Record Pressing in Burlington intends to pick up the slack sooner rather than later to continue capitalizing on the vinyl trend.

Here’s hoping Precision is up and running in time to have Arcade Fire’s hotly anticipated fifth album ready to be stocked on record store shelves, rumoured to be coming out in April. Maybe Deloitte’s projected vinyl prosperity will also filter down through the music artist ranks to benefit everyone, whether they’re a marquee headliner or the next Twenty One Pilots-type breakout band.

Go to Deloitte.com/Predictions to read the complete TMT report for yourself.

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.

One thought on “Is Vinyl Really Worth a Billion Dollars?

  • January 13, 2017 at 11:02 am
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    Can we talk about cost for a minute? Is the $30+ price tag on a vinyl release justified or is there a huge profit margin? With additional pressing plants springing up now can we expect a price drop in the future as efficiency and a larger supply enter the market?

    Reply

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