Vinyl record sales have seen an incredible increase over the last ten years, with the biggest uptake happening as recently as last year. So, what is causing this resurgence and what does it mean for the vinyl record retail industry?
The Romance of Records
Picture the memorable music scene in The Shawshank Redemption, the one where Andy locks himself in the warden’s office and plays opera into the prison yard. He gently flips through the record collection, his face sparkling with childlike joy as he slides Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro out of its sleeve, blows off the dust and places it carefully onto the record player. The comforting crackling kicks in as he switches on the mic and, “for the briefest of moments, every last man at Shawshank felt free.”
Now, imagine him trying to do that through his streaming service using voice recognition.
“Alexa, play Mozart”
“…Playing Ozark Soundtrack playlist”
“No! Mozart! OPERA!!”
“…Adding Oprah Winfrey’s Super Soul podcast to queue”
It doesn’t really have the same impact. So, yes, technology may be (relatively) quick and easy, but it doesn’t have that thing; that physical and emotional combination that makes listening to music an experience, not just background noise.
The Rise of Vinyl in Numbers
According to MRC (a respected data and analytics provider to the music business), “Vinyl’s resurgence in culture has been nothing short of a skyrocket. In 2011, vinyl only made up 1.7% of physical sales of music, with CDs making up the rest. In just 10 years, that number rose to 50.4%.”
Their fascinating 2021 End of Year Report shows that combined physical album sales (vinyl and CDs) increased by 21% in 2021, with vinyl sales alone jumping from 27.5 million units to 41.7 million. That’s an incredible increase of 51.4% in one year!
In terms of global vinyl record sales, the United States leads the pack with Americans buying 18.9 million units in 2019 (up from a modest 2.7 million in 2010). Other countries following closely behind the U.S. in their vinyl appetite are The United Kingdom, France, Japan, and Germany.
Physical Album Sales Are Only Going to Get Bigger
There are a number of factors within today’s music culture and industry that suggest that this increase in vinyl record sales isn’t going to slow down any time soon.
Record Store Day has had quite an influence on the vinyl market. This annual event first launched in 2007 to celebrate the culture of the independently owned record store and has since seen a real rise in popularity. The event’s positive reception has resulted in artists placing more importance on catering for their physical music format fans.
As MRC’s report explains, “From Metallica lending credibility to Record Store Day (and by extension, records/record stores) via their RSD release a decade ago, to Taylor Swift foregrounding vinyl editions of her recent releases; [this was] not as an afterthought, but as an important part of their launch.”
In addition to this, a lot of vinyl nowadays comes with a digital download link. This means that you don’t have to choose one over the other, which makes vinyl less…final. It also means you’re not paying twice to own the same album in two different formats.
It’s also worth noting that the MRC report shows that for the first time since they began tracking the data, streaming of new music has declined in volume year-on-year with people increasingly drawn to old favourites and back catalogues. This trend first began during the first waves of the COVID-19 lockdowns when perhaps music became something to explore and revisit as opposed to something you vaguely notice as you try to get through your busy day in one piece.
The Benefits of Wholesale Vinyl Record Supplies
Given the numbers and rising trends, it’s worth considering the benefits of vinyl records wholesale. Record collectors are no longer outliers in music retail market, there’s now a huge audience buying music on vinyl. By partnering with vinyl wholesalers, you know you’ll always have access to abundant stock at wholesale prices that won’t obliterate your margins. If you’re looking for a reliable vinyl wholesaler in the USA with a passion for good music and unrivalled customer service, check out our vinyl section on site and get in touch.
In the meantime, viva the record revolution!