People Are Buying Vinyl But Not Listening To It
Every now and then you stumble across a story that just doesn’t quite make sense. Why would you buy a record purely for admiration? I mean, they are beautiful and that, but there’s not much more that graces the ears than the static crackle of a record. Especially one that’s stooped in history and nostalgia…
Almost 48% of UK vinyl buyers surveyed by ICM say they haven’t listened to their records a month after purchase, according to the BBC.
And 7% don’t even own a turntable.
Findings from the survey appear to show that online streaming is boosting sales of vinyl. People tend to buy albums on vinyl after listening to them online on ad-funded sites like YouTube and SoundCloud.
Younger people are discovering music online, then buying it to support their favourite artists — or just for their own collections.
“I have vinyls in my room but it’s more for decor. I don’t actually play them,” said Jordan Katende, a student in Manchester.
Admiration for the way their parents experienced music plays a part in vinyl purchases for young people too.
“It’s so easy to listen to music now on YouTube or Spotify, I think we’re yearning for the times of our parents where you had to go out of your way to buy a song,” student Duncan Willis told the BBC.
Vinyl sales climbed 64% to a 21-year high in 2015, with 2.1 million LPs purchased, according to Official Charts.
Vinyl’s resurgence has been a surprising success story for the music industry. Very much mainstream retailers like Sainsbury’s and Tesco now stock the format, and Record Store Day — which has championed vinyl for years — is a well-publicised and attended occasion.
But it’s important to keep vinyl’s actual share of the market in perspective. ICM Unlimited research says 73% of music is bought online, with Amazon being the top seller.
About 8% of men have bought vinyl in the last month and that figure has stayed pretty steady, ICM says. But in 2013 only 3% of women purchased vinyl, and that’s now risen to 5%.
“It is still the case that less than 1 in 10 people are buying vinyl, and we shouldn’t forget that it’s still a relatively small part of the market,” Andrew Wiseman, head of ICM Unlimited, told the BBC.