Vinyl Sales at Their Highest in 10 Years

Record sales in the UK have doubled since last year, prompting a major resurgence for the retro music format. What’s causing this rush for vinyl?

Vinyl Sales at Their Highest in 10 Years
44
Vinyl record sales are at their highest levels in a decade in the UK. They've doubled over the past year to a record 550,000 thanks to big hit LPs from Daft Punk and the Arctic Monkeys, according to the British Phonographic Industry (BPI). That total could be set to grow by another 150,000 sales with major new LPs from Pearl Jam and Arcade Fire on the horizon in the lead up to christmas. "We're witnessing a renaissance for records," said Geoff Taylor who is head of the BPI (via the FT). "They're no longer retromania and are becoming the format of choice for more and more music fans." Despite its magnificent growth, vinyl remains a niche market compared to CDs and digital music sales, at only 0.8 percent of UK album sales. Still, it's seen great growth considering that it was only 0.1 percent in 2007. The boost is aided by one attractive modern feature: an MP3 download code so the vinyl fans can also take their new album in their pocket when they're away from home. A poll by the BPI found the 90 percent of respondents called vinyl their favorite music format. What is yours? Let us know in the comments.

50 comments sorted by best / new / date

comments policy
    lemmyisgod97
    Iv'e noticed since some of the HMV's have opened back up they seem to have whole sections for vinyl which they never used to have, good stock to of new albums and old ones, I don't buy them myself as they're a little expensive but it's cool to see there's still an interest.
    BlackLabel5150
    A lot of bands / labels issue vinyl most of the time you can pick of the record and it will come with a digital download as well. I still collect avidly, probably close to a 1000 or so. Most recently I picked up the new Sword LP. I think it was $28 with the digi download.
    liampatricksmyt
    Think it's worth pointing out this article has been copy/pasted from the Guardian (uk newspaper) from the 16th of October...if you're going to do that, it's only fair to credit where the material has come from!
    oncenfutureidio
    In all honestly, I think the music has a better quality on vinyl. You can hear more of the layering on vinyl than digital. Everything has a little bit of a crisper sound and, let's be honest, nothing beats the little pops a vinyl makes over the speaker.
    KerNeL_KLuTcH
    It does, scientifically. It's a fact that it sounds better on vinyl. Since Vinyl is a continuous signal it's always going to sound better than even the highest sample rates of digital media. The whole complaint of "not hearing the bass guitar" on CD's and MP3s is not a problem encountered on vinyl, I've heard so many baselines that I never heard clearly before on CDs and MP3s. http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/que...
    Kueller917
    It's arguable. Vinyl is a continuous signal but digital sample rates have also gone pretty damn high. Also most albums are recorded digitally these days making vinyl a glorified transcode. The comparison between the two is a never ending debate. Personally I prefer analog formats if the original recording is analog.
    KerNeL_KLuTcH
    if you have bad hearing the bass is about the only thing you are going to notice, but if you haven't blown your ears out with loud amps and stuff, you'll notice anything with sinusoidal signals (synths) in the music is going to have an "x factor" to the sound that isn't apparent on CD's and MP3's, the intro to "Mr. Crowley" on my copy of Blizzard Of Ozz amazed me.
    DisarmGoliath
    I'm sorry but this is all absolute nonsense and you don't know what you're talking about, no offence. First up, vinyl only sounds warmer to people because when most vinyl was created everything in the recording process was analogue, including tape machines with big, fat tape compression when pushed hard, not to mention all the outboard gear, and even the amps used to power the speakers - which, together with vinyl's limited usable frequency response, creates a rolled-off high end far below the threshold of human hearing. Even now, the latter has the impact you hear.Secondly, your argument about 'continuous sound' is nonsense - everything you hear is oscillations in the air at different speeds and intensities. There are no 'gaps' to digital music by the time it reaches your ears because the air pulses with the waves, and your eardrum vibrates in sympathy as a movement and has to travel from one 'sample' to another, and that is all ignoring the fact that the speaker can not start and stop moving at speeds in excess of 1/20,000th of a second in order to create audible gaps, because the energy carries it (even when a signal cuts out, the speaker still has momentum to fight against in order to stop moving, which takes time).Ultimately, nobody disputes that vinyl often has a different sound to it, but you can replicate the effects of vinyl pretty damn well with basic plug-ins, and much of the hype for vinyl is based around nostalgia and 'hipster cool'. It's a great format, especially for the time, but please don't assume digital is lacking in any way just because some people prefer the sound they associate with vinyl - digital can do all that, and much more (including offering the full frequency response your ears can make sense of, for a start, not to mention far lower noise floors and increased dynamic range). Edit: Damn, paragraphs don't appear to work in comments anymore.
    eGraham
    Please, tell me more
    DisarmGoliath
    Why certainly, how convenient of you to ask as I remember more that is wrong with the previous posts ;P The 'layering' thing is nonsense - they're all stereo formats when delivered to the consumer, unless you have something mixed and delivered specifically for surround sound etc., and as for the basslines being more audible on vinyl - not true at all; CD/digital formats have better and more accurate low end extension as they aren't colouring the sound creating a false low end, and if you can't hear the bassline on a CD it is because of how it was mixed and mastered, the 'Redbook Audio' cd standard extends all the way down to 20Hz where human hearing begins, and has a sample rate of 44.1kHz, which is beyond twice the highest frequency a perfect, undamaged human ear is capable of hearing before aging rolls off any high end, thus more than meeting the requirements of the Nyquist Theorem. And the frequencies up in the high treble that are only sampled a few times a second are beyond the particularly audible range of vinyl anyway, so aside from the occasional bit of aliasing it is still an improvement over vinyl.
    Slasher_M&M
    U are totally right mate! I enjoy music so much more since I got back to vinyl, 2-3 years ago!
    iommi600
    Vinyl remained relatively strong in the underground scene since the CD boom in the late 80s... I thought that it would make up for more than 0.1% of album sales lol. Still, I think it's nice that people are getting into vinyls again. Why not try it out with other music formats, eh?
    florence007
    Personally I just enjoy the sound that comes off a vinyl recording. All the cracckle and warmth isn't maybe as perfect as a FLAC file, but it gives charachter. And besides, some albums just sound freaking awesome through a needle
    Klepa
    I think that Jack White and poeple like him have huge contribution in this..
    tonylee.zyrek
    He was the first person who came to mind, especially when I read that he was remastering a bunch of old blues recordings
    slayer_rule_\m/
    I've recently started collecting vinyl, not just due to superior sound quality or anything like that. I think they're just really nice things to collect.
    kcmoon5150
    Hipsters... Just playin, I actually just purchased Lightning Bolt on vinyl.. awesome
    Slasher_M&M
    U lucky! I'm waiting for mine in the HMV here in my town, they have my name and all. Can't wait!!
    salamander121
    I've always known that the sound quality thing is disputable, but to be honest I like collecting vinyl for collecting-sake and that I feel it's more tangible than most digital media/jewel cd cases.
    AdamLeMoine
    I collect vinyl. I love it. Cancer Bats, Protest the Hero, Against Me!, Gaslight Anthem, Propaghandi, NOFX, etc. I love vinyl.
    Rokkec
    It kinda coincides with the whole hipster scene Even though I don't have one, I still believe they are the best medium for music playback and it's nice that they are still popular in small bits all over the world
    Impossibru
    Since my parents gave away our old record player i've been patiently waiting to save a bit of cash to get one for myself.... Always preferred vinyls but never had the privelege to actually own a vinyl player....yet
    darknis
    I don't have a turntable but I REALLY want to get one. I went to a friends house once and listened to some vinyl records and I don't know what it is but it just sounds so much more real and warmer than CD or Digital.
    DrCOOL
    If we went back to putting everything on vinyl I wouldn't be upset.
    AwesomeOne3
    Vinyls are one of better way to listen to music. Vinyls and CD's.
    DvanG
    I agree, great sound if you have a great set-up aswell. It turns the experience into somewhat of a ritual and makes me listen to it with more attention as well.
    BlackLabel5150
    this right here, exactly, I feel I listen to the album more. the entire album. Plus on the ego side, walking into my music room usually blows people away at first. lets just say Ipods don't usually get brought out...
    Artturi
    Truth is Vinyl just sounds better. It is a superior format when it comes to dynamic range and, well- sound quality and tone in general. The problem is that it's not as durable... Then again even that's not true concidering CDs get scratched and repeat errors as well, and digital formats tend to get out of date. If you don't keep updating the format of your sound files, you may find your digital files beyond being "a bit scratched". I think people should have a go at a vinyl recording if they have a chance- I'm sure most of you will like what you hear and feel.
    DisarmGoliath
    You are wrong about dynamic range; tone is subjective to the listener; how long have mp3's been around for again? etc. I don't care about people preferring vinyl - that's fine. Great, in fact. But spouting complete fallacies about other formats is just stupid. Also, nobody records to vinyl. Nobody ever has, apart from the very early days when sound engineering was basically sticking a mic in the centre of a room and pressing record. In the glory days of vinyl, recordings were made to analogue tape, and then when a mix was finished, it was committed to a master tape and then pressed to vinyl in special vinyl cutting plants, using highly-sophisticated machinery. There is no chance anybody here is likely to ever record direct to vinyl, and also no point.
    sickassfoo
    Ive only bought Vengeance falls on vinyl because it was the blue limited edition.
    EnslaveTheWorld
    I'm more of a CD guy, but I do have a steadily growing vinyl collection. I like to put them on once in a while.
    turkeyjerky214
    Not surprising at all. The film industry has been pushing towards digital for a decade now, and after most people were swept up in the hype, more directors are moving back towards shooting on film. I'm a professional photographer, and the same thing has happened in my industry. Everyone moved to digital as soon as it was a viable option, but a lot of people are starting to shoot film again because digital just isn't the same. Hell, I even run processing software to give most of my work a film look. I hope more artists start to do wider releases of their new stuff on vinyl.
    Kueller917
    Film is a bit different than vinyl though. Digital audio has gone enough to compete with analog formats but the current 2k standard of digital cinema is no where near matching the quality of film reels on a big screen. Even 4k is just a step up but still doesn't come close.
    libertines4ever
    I would say that Vinyl is nicer to collect than the CD just for the fact that it's got a bigger cover, the coverart of London Calling for instance looks massive on Vinyl.. same goes for Sgt. Peppers, probably wouldn't exist if it had to be designed to fit a CD
    rolandroi
    Do vinyl sound quality deteriorate?
    Kueller917
    All physical formats eventually deteriorate. Take good care of your vinyl if you got them.
    DisarmGoliath
    Vinyl deteriorates with each play, as the grooves in the record are scratched by the needle as it passes over them. CD's deteriorate only if a big enough scratch damages enough of an area to prevent the player being able to make sense of the digital signal the laser is reading - a CD can be scratched and still work fine, due to the error correction in the format which takes into account small problems. Once a scratch is big enough, however, it will skip and produce audible errors, possibly even failing to read altogether.
    zenbone
    I try to always buy music on vinyl if it is a choice. There isn't really a comparison quality wise. I love everything about vinyl records. Glad to see some positive projections for the upcoming years.
    dial-a-death
    My friend at uni had a turntable, and one of the best times I had at uni was sitting in his room with some mates, listening to Crime of the Century and Live in Paris by Supertramp, drinking some beers, and taking the piss out of one of my friends for not understanding that magnet polarity wasn't "red and blue". I frequently trawl charity shops for vinyl. I only buy it if it's a) good quality, b) a song I like, and c) has awesome artwork. I have several 7" singles that i have put up on my wall just for the artwork. My favourites are Thin Lizzy's Killer On The Loose and the limitted edition fold out of Bon Jovi's Bad Medicine. As has been said, vinyl deteriorates each time you play it, and it's noticeable. I have NOW That's What I Call Music! 1, and Total Eclipse of The Heart sounds crap, because it's been played 10 times as much as any other song on the album. As for CDs- I knew someone who had a CD that had a crack right to the middle, you could see through it, and it still played fine.