Vinyl: When the Old School Meets the New School, Giving Record Companies a Boost

Another of my posts at Motema Music looked at the increase of vinyl music sales.  I find it exciting that vinyl sales are going up while all other forms of physical music sales are decreasing.  Even if vinyl is becoming the new cool just because it’s “old school,” I’m happy that vinyl is making a comeback.

In a time when digital consumerism reigns, the physical music market is far from dead. To some chagrin, this is not to say that record stores will soon re-open their doors. Just about anyone with the remotest interest in music knows that CDs are dying off, and that many albums are now dropping in digital format only. And, perhaps comically, we must acknowledge that a whole, new generation of music consumers have never seen or heard of a cassette tape. But this doesn’t mean that the physical music market is dead or will ever completely die off, thanks to the resurgence of interest in vinyl records.According to Nielsen Entertainment, vinyl sales have been rising noticeably over the past four years. In 2009 alone, 2.5 million vinyl albums were sold, up from 1.8 million sales in 2008. According to the Senior Vice President of Nielsen Entertainment, David Bakula, vinyl sales are still on the rise. Bakula commented, “As surprising as it may sound, LP sales are up again this year, and 2009 had the highest number of LP sales ever since we started tracking them.”

The increased interest in vinyl is not to be confused with the overall wellbeing of the music industry. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry has determined that overall global record company revenues fell by 7.2% in 2009, only bringing in $17 billion. Even though global digital sales rose 9.32%, the combined sale of CDs, tapes and vinyl – i.e. physical sales – fell by 12.7%. Despite the rise in digital and vinyl sales, the music industry must still come up with creative solutions to make up for the persistent drop in music sales.

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