Vinyl: Back Again for Another Spin

What's old can nowadays be associated with trendy words such as 'vintage', 'retro', and 'old school' and the resurgence of vinyl is just further proof of this. From those who grew up listening to records in their bedrooms as teens and young adults, to those discovering that turntables aren't just for DJ's mixing it up at local night clubs, vinyl records have continually increased in popularity since 2010. According to Digital Music News, US record sales increased from 2.8 million units in 2010 to 3.9 million units in 2011. Sold mostly in independent music shops, vinyl records can also be found in some mainstream clothing and electronics outlets as well as online.

The Demise and Resurrection of Vinyl

This is an amazing turnaround, since 20 years ago records were all but extinct. First, many independent music stores couldn't compete with larger music store retailers such as Tower Records. As a result, many local shops closed, which left people without anywhere to go to buy vinyl. Then, CDs came along, which created a dramatic shift in how people listened to music. More portable than records, people could listen to CDs at home, in the office, or in the car. Digital music, which has all but replaced CDs, allows people to download singles from their computer, tablet, and smartphones.

Digital music put most large music store retailers out of business. Independent stores that survived, did so by selling rare and used CDs and audio equipment.

Now, these stores sell vinyl and turntables to a new generation of record listeners. Over the last few years, celebrations like Record Store Day (April 21) have helped independent music stores in the US and UK increase awareness of vinyl.

Who's Listening to All this Vinyl?

With the sudden increase in the popularity of vinyl, the question is who's buying records and turntables? Record collecting, for the most part, was regulated to a small group of people that bought albums for their own enjoyment or those that wanted to make a little extra cash on the side. But thanks to the Internet, collectors have been able to connect with each other along with record companies, auction houses, antique shops, book and music stores and other businesses that sell vinyl recordings.

Nowadays, younger people, especially teens and young adults, can be found flipping through the record racks at local record and book shops. The reasons for the shift in listening to digitized music to vinyl vary depending on who you talk to. Some vinyl fans enjoy the sound quality (skips, pops, vibrations, and all); while others enjoy going to the store and spending time browsing through available titles. For shop owners, this means increased sales and the opportunity to talk with music fans one-on-one.

But it's not just music lovers that contribute to vinyl records increasing popularity. Solo artists like Katy Perry, David Bowie, Paul McCartney, and bands including The White Stripes and The Misfits have all released singles on vinyl. With musicians offering new and old recordings on vinyl, there's even more music to choose from. This has definitely impacted the popularity of records.

The Future of Vinyl

No one knows for certain how long this trend will continue or if musicians will continue to crank out singles on vinyl. But for independent record stores, the resurgence of vinyl has helped these stores stay in business. And with online resources such as and music fans and collectors now have options when it comes to shopping for records. Music stores can also use online resources to find vintage recordings for customers.


Article courtesy of Sylvia at VinylStall


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