The Vinyl revival is the renewed interest and increased sales of vinyl records, or gramophone records, that has been taking place in the Western world since about 2007.
The analogue format made of polyvinyl chloride had been the main vehicle for the commercial distribution of pop music from the 1950s until the 1980s and 1990s when they were largely replaced by the Compact Disc. Since the turn of the millennium, CDs have been partially replaced by digital downloads. However, in 2007, vinyl sales made a sudden small increase, starting its comeback, and by the early 2010s it was growing at a very fast rate. In some territories, vinyl is now more popular than it has been since the late 1980s, though vinyl records still make up only a marginal percentage (<6%) of overall music sales.
Along with steadily increasing vinyl sales, the vinyl revival is also evident in the renewed interest in the record shop (as seen by the creation of the annual worldwide Record Store Day), the implementation of music charts dedicated solely to vinyl, and an increased output of films (largely independent) dedicated to the vinyl record and culture.
Though many sales in vinyl are of modern artists with modern styles or genres of music, the revival has sometimes been considered to be a part of the greater revival of retro style, since many vinyl buyers are too young to remember vinyl being a primary music format.
In November 2014, it was reported that over one million vinyl records had been sold in the UK since the beginning of the year. Sales had not reached this level since 1996. The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) predicted that Christmas sales would bring the total for the year to around 1.2 million. However, vinyl sales were still a very small proportion of total music sales. Pink Floyd’s The Endless River became the fastest-selling UK vinyl release of 2014 – and the fastest-selling since 1997 – despite selling only 6,000 copies.
In Canada and the United States
In 1988, the Compact Disc surpassed the gramophone record in popularity. Vinyl records experienced a sudden decline in popularity between 1988 and 1991, when the major label distributors restricted their return policies, which retailers had been relying on to maintain and swap out stocks of relatively unpopular titles.
First the distributors began charging retailers more for new product if they returned unsold vinyl, and then they stopped providing any credit at all for returns. Retailers, fearing they would be stuck with anything they ordered, only ordered proven, popular titles that they knew would sell, and devoted more shelf space to CDs and cassettes. Record companies also deleted many vinyl titles from production and distribution, further undermining the availability of the format and leading to the closure of pressing plants. This rapid decline in the availability of records accelerated the format's decline in popularity, and is seen by some as a deliberate ploy to make consumers switch to CDs, which were more profitable for the record companies.
In the United Kingdom
Similarly in the United Kingdom, the compact disc surpassed the gramophone record in popularity in the late 1980s. This started a gradual decline in vinyl record sales throughout the 1990s.
|Global Trade Value $US
2012 Vinyl LP Charts
Annual Best Selling LPs in the USA
|2009||Abbey Road||The Beatles||34,800|
|2010||Abbey Road||The Beatles||35,000|
|2011||Abbey Road||The Beatles||41,000|
|2013||Random Access Memories||Daft Punk||49,000|
Global vinyl sales in US$
US vinyl sales in units
UK vinyl sales in units
UK vinyl sales in UK£
British consumer spending on music formats
Vinyl in the media
|The Joy Of The Single||2012||United Kingdom||BBC|
|The 12 Inch Single||2012||United Kingdom||BBC|
|78 Revolutions||2011||United Kingdom||BBC|
On New Year's Day 2012, British radio station BBC Radio 6 Music, solely broadcast music on the vinyl format, with records coming from the collections of presenters and DJs.
Record Store Day
Record Store Day is an internationally celebrated day observed the third Saturday of April each year. Its purpose, as conceived by independent record store employee Chris Brown, is to celebrate the art of music. The day brings together fans, artists, and thousands of independent record stores across the world.
Record Store Day was officially founded in 2007 and is celebrated globally with hundreds of recording and other artists participating in the day by making special appearances, performances, meet and greets with their fans, the holding of art exhibits, and the issuing of special vinyl and CD releases along with other promotional products to mark the occasion.
In 2013, for the week of Record Store Day in the United Kingdom, 68,936 records were sold (an 86.5% rise from 36,957 in 2012). This can be broken down into 1,249 7" albums, 25,100 12" albums, 27,042 7" singles and 15,545 12" singles.
UK Official Record Store Chart
The Official Record Store Chart is a weekly music chart based on physical sales of albums in almost 100 independent record stores in the United Kingdom. It is compiled by the Official Charts Company (OCC), and each week's number one is first announced on Sunday evenings on the OCC's official website.
The chart's launch was first announced by the OCC on 17 April 2012 – at the time, British record stores were selling 4.5 million albums per year, and were contributing towards 95 per cent of the country's total vinyl sales.
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