We all remember our first Vinyl record. For me, it was Illmatic by Nas, which is to this day one of my favorite albums. That album was the start of my small but intimate vinyl collection, which today includes some of my favorite albums of all time.
My vinyl story might sound similar to yours. However, there’s a thing that might surprise you. I’m 24. I didn’t shop for my vinyl in a record store, I brought them online. I am one of the many people that got caught up in this vinyl resurgence, but what does that even mean.
Why are people buying vinyl?
Is vinyl coming back to stay?
Interactive music listening experience
One reason people have become drawn to vinyl is the experience of listening to a vinyl record. It is a very personal experience that starkly contrasts to the streaming that we have become used to.
There is no listening to half a song and going to the next when listening to vinyl. When you pop that record onto that turntable, you are committing to that experience of listening to that record.
That commitment can be ritualistic to some.
This ritualistic experience is what first lead me to start collecting vinyl. I only own copies of my favorite albums. Albums that I find myself listening to over and over again. Listening to these albums on vinyl offers a unique experience, that makes me love and cherish these albums even more.
It’s not like it was back in the day
Today’s vinyl scene is different than it used to be. No longer are people lining up at record stores to buy the latest releases from today’s hot new artists, they’d rather just stream the album to listen to it.
That being said dedicated fans to artists will buy their vinyl records. Take for example Billie Ellish who had three editions (normal, lime green and glow in the dark) of her Grammy-winning album 'WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?' pressed to vinyl. All three of those versions are now sold out on her website.
This shows a reason why vinyl today isn’t the same as it used to be. People now buy new records online and search for used records on eBay and Discogs.
Unfortunately, this isn’t good news for record stores as the industry has been in a decline, shrinking 9% from 2014-2019. The total number of records stores in the USA is down to 2660, a far cry from the over 6,000 record stores from the golden era.
Is vinyl here to stay?
In short, is yes.
Out of all physical music, vinyl is the only one whose sales are growing. In 2018, physical music sales fell 15.3%, with CD sales dropping by 18.5%. In the same period, vinyl sales grew by 17.5%
All this points to vinyl being a mainstay in the music world. The same might not be true with record stores, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Supporting your local record stores is the only way to make sure that they don’t go extinct
Written by Chris Ogunfowora