Probably more so today than ever before, music has become an industry surpassing its own category, now being linked to numerous other financial outlets. Just within the past two decades, the world has seen people, who started out as musicians, become far more powerful than what was expected of their initial careers. Both Beyonce and Jay-Z are prime examples. The Inquisitr previously reported that the couple makes so much money, they’ve allegedly purchased a whole island for their daughter Blue Ivy. Not to mention, the power couple’s presence is so demanding, they constantly burn the celebrity rumor mill, mostly on their supposed upcoming divorce.
Even with multi-million dollar productions backing the music industry — just like Katy Perry’s Super Bowl halftime show featuring “new artist,” Missy Elliot — sales for most tangible music formats, such as compact discs (CDs), have dropped. However, there is one format that’s seen a major leap in sales, and its one of a nostalgic nature: long play (LP) or vinyl records. Yet, the music industry sees the spike in popularity as a “fad.”
According to an exclusive article in Rolling Stone, vinyl sales have jumped up to 54 percent. Because of this sudden popularity, many music stores are seeing a sudden return to their sales, something that was dwindling ever since digital media formats used for iPods and digital music players became prominent. Carl Mello, a senior buyer for New England music chain, Newbury Comics, believes vinyl is growing more important by the day. Just in 2014 alone, LP records of Taylor Swift’s 1989 and Sam Smith’s In the Lonely Hour were such hits, they were constantly sold out.
Unfortunately for the format, managers of record labels see vinyl as a fad. Candace Berry, the general manager of Universal Music Distribution, gave her perspective on the matter.
“It’s a great marketing opportunity. While we do expect growth to continue, it’d be hard to project exactly what that’s going to be. I know a lot of people in the business who’ve gotten back into vinyl the last couple years. But I’m not sure they’re playing their vinyl every single day like they’re listening on their device.”
Candace Berry’s insight does make a lot of sense in terms of scale. International Business Times followed-up with an article in which they report that vinyl sales only account up to six percent of all music sales. In comparison, Taylor Swift’s 1989 was the best selling album of 2014 with about 3.6 million copies, and that includes her LP version. Jack White’s Lazaretto was the best-selling vinyl album for 2014 at 86,000 copies sold. If Taylor’s vinyl sales were just one short of the best-selling vinyl album for last year (85,999), only two percent of the 3.6 million copies she sold were LPs. Maybe that’s why music executives aren’t allocating the time or resources to assisting the fifteen remaining vinyl pressing factories left in the United States.
Vinyl may have seen a sudden spike in sales, but its popularity isn’t enough to justify anymore funding than what is already being provided. Robb Nansel, an operator of long-time indie label, Saddle Creek, located in Omaha, Nebraska, probably summed it up best describing what the vinyl format will be in the music industry going forward.
“It’s always going to be a niche. It’s great, obviously, that people are buying records. Not to be negative about it, but I feel like it’s going to peak, if it hasn’t already. From a label perspective, it’s expensive. You’ve got to ship it. There are environmental concerns. But we love vinyl. It’s our preferred format.”
Now that you’ve read the article on vinyls’ sudden spike in popularity, what are your views? If you are a connoisseur of LP records, what is it that you love about them? For those who are just learning about it, would you give the format a chance?
[Featured Image via Joshua Mellin]