Saturday, June 7, 2008


In a recent Rolling Stone article it has been reported that while sales of CDs are down, sales of vinyl LPs are currently on the rise. According to Nielsen SoundScan statistics, vinyl sales were up 15% in 2007 (U.S figures), while shipments of CDs were down 17.5% during the same period

Many artists are now choosing to make limited vinyl pressings of new releases, and for his latest album "Momofuku", Elvis Costello choose to release it on vinyl before it was available on CD. For their latest release, the Raconteurs "recommend hearing it on vinyl" first. In addition, many artists who release vinyl versions are also including codes for a free download for the digital version as well, thus taking the need for a CD version out of the equation.

Although vinyl will not ever return to its former place of prominence in the market place, it looks like it has found an entrenched, and increasingly popular niche that will be around for a while. Much of this is of course is driven by those who love music and realize that those analog recordings that were quickly abandoned in the early 90's were actually much better quality despite claims to the contrary at the time.

I also don't think this is only being driven by the mid 30's and older crowd who have a nostalgic attachments to LPs, as I have seen many of the teen and early 20's crowd at my local record store gladly snapping up second rock and classic punk rock albums, eager to slip them out of their covers, sit back and enjoy the prospect of listening to an album in it's entirety.

Anyways, it is interesting how in the age of having a million music files at your finger tips there are many who are embracing the visceral and tangible thrill of listening to LPs which are more embedded in a specific place and time. Other formats like CDs & MP3 files may be more convenient, though they are also more inclined to be skipped through or disposed of more readily, rather than being revered and enjoyed as a holistic experience.

Of course that is my unbiased opinion... now excuse me while I go down to my basement to enjoy some great gatefold artwork and enjoy a splendid aural journey at 33 1/3 RPMs!


Randal Graves said...

From a purely aesthetic point of view, vinyl is definitely cool. Which is why I still like buying the poor man's substitute, the CD. I just cannot get into the whole download thing; I want the booklet, the artwork.

I did hear that someone - it might actually have been Elvis Costello - offered a download of a song or an EP whereby you could also download the artwork to print out your own insert if you wished.

The problem with vinyl is that more acts than I'd like are released songs that are vinyl-only releases. It's bad enough when most of the bonus tracks are only only Japanese or European imports. Bastards!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I haven't actually bought vinyl in years as my turntable no longer functions and I have never had it fixed, but I sure do love the artwork on the large album covers. And it's true there is a tendency to skip around with cds or downloads, which actually must be somewhat disheartening to the artists who agonize over the mixing.