Vinyl Record Sales Are At A 28-Year High

By Chris Morris, Fortune Magazine, Fortune.com 4/16/2016

When Record store Day started in 2008, it was conceived as a way to draw attention to Independent Record Stores.  But a funny thing happened in the following years: Records, actual LP record albums-mounted a comeback in pop culture.

As fans of vinyl celebrate the unofficial holiday today, the audience – and reach – of the medium has changed considerably.

Vinyl, initially saw a resurgence as hipsters in their 20s and early 30s sought a way to differentiate their music listening.  Albums were old school, filled with hisses and pops that digital music had erased.  But those flaws added a depth and warmth to the music that even people who once owned extensive album collections had forgotten after years of listening to digital music.  (Digital is technically cleaner, but the compression technology in MP3s tends to dull the highs and lows.)

Flash forward to 2015.  Fueled by that unique sound quality and nostalgia wave, sales of vinyl records were up 32% to $416 million, their highest level since 1988, according to the RIAA. (CD sales, while much higher in total income, were down 17%)

Put another way: Revenues from vinyl sales last year were higher than those of on-demand ad supported streaming services, such as YouTube, Vevo and Spotify’s free service, which only accounted for $385 million, according to the RIAA.

Given the increasing number of retail locations for vinyl, it’s no surprise that today’s biggest artists are embracing it as well.  And experts say don’t be surprised if vinyl continues to see noticeable growth in the years to come.

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