Updated: May 7, 2020
After more than a decade of increasing sales, vinyl’s comeback is no longer a quirky, look-at-those-hipsters novelty. Instead, the bustling ecosystem of turntables and records is surprisingly close to being mainstream. Last year, vinyl was featured in commercials for insurance companies and arthritis pills. It was also on “The Price Is Right" and turntables are becoming more and more a thing. In November, Jack White was able to describe such once-unlikely crossovers during the millennium’s first vinyl manufacturing conference. At the same time, though, vinyl still represents an infinitesimal slice of the global recording industry. Even within the shrinking realm of physical media, only one in 10 new albums sold last year was on vinyl according to one industry report - aside from a negligible smattering of cassettes, the other nine were CDs. Yet the numbers - and observations from industry insiders - suggest that physical records will probably continue to remain a meaningful and lasting presence in many music lovers’ lives. In the years ahead, vinyl will likely maintain its status as a complement to the impersonality of streaming, a scruffy anachronism consistently hanging out at the margins. As of now, here are the big trends from the world of spinning wax. Vinyl records earned $224.1 million (on 8.6 million units) in the first half of 2019, closing in on the $247.9 million (on 18.6 million units) generated by CD sales. Vinyl revenue grew by 12.8% in the second half of 2018 and 12.9% in the first six months of 2019, while the revenue from CDs barely budged. If these trends hold, records will soon be generating more money than compact discs.
Despite vinyl’s growth, streaming still dominates the music industry — records accounted for just 4 percent of total revenues in the first half of 2019. In contrast, paid subscriptions to streaming services generated 62 percent of industry revenues. So,
Do you even wax, bro..?
What are the benefits?