It has been clear that vinyl albums have become a staple in the modern music scene. Indeed, vinyl is the most popular form for musical consumption among many, and even the younger age groups who do not even own turntables are enjoying the trend. While this is certainly an exciting time for analogue, the question looms in our heads about whether this is going to continue on or if this is simply a fad, a trend that will quickly fall to the wayside. With all of these things in mind, it is important to ensure that the vinyl record trend is not taken too seriously or that it is taken seriously enough. The sales figures will have to be our guides as we try to determine what the future holds for our dear vinyl albums and whether or not there seems to be any hope for their longevity.
So, what do the numbers say. In 2012, vinyl record sales numbers were on the rise. Indeed, nearly 4.55 million units were sold, a 17.7% jump for the past year. While this was exciting, this also mean that CD sales were in decline. They dropped 13.5% on consumption. Digital downloads have also continued to grow and are a total of 37.2% of all musical albums sales, a tribute to the widespread success of iTunes and other mp3 retailers. All this being said, it is important to remember that while this has been a period of growth for certain aspects of the music industry, the sales for the industry as a whole dropped 4.4% in 2012. This means that there is all the more reason to celebrate the resurgence of vinyl albums, especially as their growth has come at a time when other avenues are dying off.
These numbers indicate a few different things to the experts. Most manufacturers imagine that the growth in vinyl sales is a bit of a trend as well as bit of a resurgence that is here to stay. Perhaps the thing that best represents this dichotomy is the two best selling LP records of 2012. At number one sits Jack White’s album “Blunderbuss” while the Beatles’s “Abbey Road” sits at number two. Representative of the old and of the new in album purchasing, it is easy to see why the experts say that the trend presents a mixed bag.
Indeed, another thing to note about the changes we are seeing are the ways the turntables and album accessories and equipment are being purchased. For example, there has been clear growth in manufacturing turntables, cartridges, phono stages, and other equipment necessary for playing vinyl albums. Whether you are looking at Rega turntables or at one of the many other turntable manufacturers, it is clear that the consumption of records by the public has been spurring on the growth of other parts of the industry. Keeping all this in mind, it seems likely that the trend will trail off after a while. Perhaps consumption will level off in the next few years. What this has proven, however, is that vinyl is here to stay, despite industry attempts to move away from analogue sound.