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News February 19, 2019

Report: What’s causing vinyl sales to keep going up…and up

Staff Writer
Report: What’s causing vinyl sales to keep going up…and up

Sales of vinyl albums grew 12% in 2018 to hit about 9.7 million in the US, making it 13.7% of all physical sales.

That figure was 10% in 2017 and 8% in 2016.

Impressive figures indeed… more so when you consider that the vinyl market is actually much larger, because the likes of Amazon, who account for a lot of vinyl sales, who share their sales data.

A panel discussion on vinyl’s future at last week’s FastForward conference in Amsterdam showed the format was moving from nostalgia hounds to a younger audience.

The panel consisted of Giancarlo Sciama, one time  EMI/Universal exec turned catalogue marketing consultant; Karen Emanuel, founder CEO at Key Production; Claire Pace, VP of people and culture at online music database Discogs; Vangel Vlaski, senior label manager at Proper Music Distribution; and moderator Megan Page, of Record Store Day UK.

Pace recounted that Discogs data found that the vinyl demo dropped from 35-44 to 25-34, and predominantly male although with a greater female take-up of late.

Vlaski quoted Kantner Research that those who go into physical stores tend to be even younger, 15 to 25.

“It’s a bit more diverse when it comes to who goes into the shops,” he explained.

The younger demo for vinyl was a response to the faceless nature of streaming.

The trend towards owning music again and building up a record collection was a social thing, in terms of bragging rights!

Sciama expanded on this: “You had this big format, this big 12-inch beautiful thing, and every 20 minutes you have to get up and flip it over.

“You’re interacting with this thing.

“There was this huge cultural following that would happen around the world: people would go round to their friends’ houses and spend time listening again and again.”

Vlaski said it was important to realise that embracing vinyl was not an either/or case of rejecting streaming or any other formats.

“Consumers are very multi-channel: you have to make everything available for people so they can choose what they want.

“Digital as a discovery platform or for convenience; vinyl for the extra-special experience; but CD maybe for driving in your car.

“Very importantly, it is a very easy entry-level price.

“It is easier for somebody with limited resource to part with 10 or 15 euros… There is room for everybody.”

Coincidentally, the UK operations of consumer data provider Kantar Worldpanel announced that guitar rock had increased its share of physical sales in the UK to 37% in the three months to mid-January.

It was its highest share in five years.

The huge success of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody soundtrack and the resultant revival of the original Queen records was attributed to this

In the period, the soundtrack sold 274,849 – of which 157,580 were physical.

Muse’s Simulation Theory sold 84,954, of which 60,750 were vinyl and CD.

The new chart topper by Bring Me The Horizon is also a strong seller on vinyl.

Kantar also noted a trend: vinyl buyers are moving away from supermarkets and even HMV to smaller independent stores because they want a more “personalised” experience.

One of every £10 spent on physical format music was in a small store, up 12.5% in the last three years.

It’ll be interesting to see of Kantar’s Australian operations,  based in Sydney, will eventually provide this kind of data.

Last week it announced it will deliver for the first time data on TV and domestic appliances in April.


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