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18 years in Wall Street, left after finding out it was all horseshit. Founder/ Master and Commander: iBankCoin, finance news and commentary from the future.
Joined Nov 10, 2007
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Unbelievable: Vinyl Record Sales Outpace Digital Downloads for the First Time Ever

I used to scoff and scowl at people who collected vinyl records, thinking it was complete horseshit. But then I got into it, almost by accident. Being an avid collector of old newspapers and antique books, I was naturally attracted to finding and collecting old vinyl records. My preference is 1940s jazz, or maybe some Stan Getz from the 1960s, during the bossa nova era. Now, I have a small, but growing, collection of vinyls and I love them. You can find stuff that is unavailable on digital and they sound better.

Much to my surprise, vinyl sales actually outpaced digital last week for the first time ever. Wow.

Source: BBC
More money was spent on vinyl than downloaded albums last week, for the first time.

Vinyl sales made the record industry £2.4m, while downloads took in £2.1m, the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) said.

It marks a big shift in music consumption. In the same week last year, vinyl albums made £1.2m while digital ones made £4.4m.

Downloads have been in sharp decline as consumers switch to streaming services.

The ERA has suggested the surge in vinyl sales could be attributed to the popularity of vinyl as a Christmas gift and the growing number of retailers – including supermarkets such as Sainsbury’s and Tesco – which now stock vinyl.

“It’s not so long ago that the digital download was meant to be the future. Few would have predicted that an album format, first invented in 1948 and based on stamping a groove into a piece of plastic, would now be outselling it in 2016.”

The format has now shown eight consecutive years of growth since facing near extinction in 2007, although it still represents less than 2% of the overall music market.

I don’t consider myself an audiophile, just someone who likes quality. I found it to be very difficult to buy a new vinyl record player, since most are made in China and complete crap. If you’re looking for a gift this Xmas, and I get nothing out of this recommendation, try Uturn Audio, based out of Boston. After a lot of research, I chose to buy my turntable through them and have been very happy ever since.

It’s worth noting, I used to spend no less than $40 per mo on iTunes music, but have cut that down to zero. Primarily, I listen to music via my Alexa device, using Amazon music through my Prime account. Since I don’t listen to new music and prefer music from antiquity, this is perfect for me and has just about everything I want for free, save the annual fee I pay for prime.

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17 comments

  1. Marc David

    I wonder if the old Sears catalog every boy grew up with would sell these days. Lotta first loves would be rekindled as the older you scans the pages. Oh the fantasy days!

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  2. mx2101

    Those may be UK numbers. Nonetheless the story is the same. Young music listeners want to stream music or maybe “rent” storage of it on the cloud. Older folks who have an affinity to own something might buy vinyl. It is the cliche of young folks renting an experience, opposed to owning something physical. Is it a new society, or a generation ripe for the picking?

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    • metalleg

      Vinyl is hip. Many youngstas buy vinyl, not just old flabby dudes. You familiar with Record Store Day?

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  3. bravo

    Wow, thanks Fly for the recommendation to Uturn Audio. I recently cleared out and sold my Mom’s home, and found in storage so many albums from growing up. Not only that, but pristine albums from the early 30’s to 40’s. Keeping the old 1959 mint Magnavox console stereo, and am looking to replace the turntable inside. Huge hat tip.

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    • ericbakerbruce

      That old Magnavox probably has two tube Monoblock amps, 169 BB and 170 M, or a combo. Probably worth taking them out and using them w/ a good preamp and some efficient speakers. The speakers in the old consoles are worthless

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  4. mx2101

    bravo- friendly suggestion: Don’t play any of the records on the Magnavox at all. When you get the new turntable set up, make digital archive copies of the records as you first play them. .wav files preferred

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  5. LP

    Liberals must be outraged at yet another instance of ‘member berries.

    Fly, you live near the best place to pick up some vinyl. Haven’t been in a while, perhaps I’ll see you there one day and never know it.

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  6. joyous__ending

    It’s because of the increased legality and availability of marijuana.

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  7. matt_bear

    nostalgia is a great trade. look at the nintendo classic. hottest in demand item for christmas.

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  8. metalleg

    That looks like a comparison of vinyl album sales to album download sales specifically with track downloads excluded and the track sales represent a larger piece of the download pie as the business has become much more track based.

    Regardless, streaming has taken over as the dominant revenue source for recorded music companies and will continue to grow while CD sales and downloads will wither to nothingness. Wall Street analysts have issued a number of favorable reports on the music industry but there aren’t any pure plays for investment $.

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  9. og

    All the younger people pay for Spotify or Apple Music now. I have Amazon Prime but the Amazon Music streaming catalog is crap if you want new music.

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  10. heaterman

    For me, analog through a decent system has always been superior to compressed music. CD’s come closest but the files through a digital device of any kind just don’t carry the fidelity of a record. Vinyl on a decent quality direct drive turntable, good needle and even average quality sound gear captures the music far better.

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  11. ho_chi_min

    dude…g3t technics for turntable

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  12. ironbird

    Americana. Keeping the money in the homeland keeps the muggings down. Made in America man.

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