Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Anyone for another vinyl revival?

Vinyl is one of the formats which has beaten the obsolescence loop but don’t take that to mean we’re going back to the future, despite the growing revenues

Every home should have one: a vinyl cutting machine

Fri, Jan 31, 2014, 09:46


It must be time to dust off those rebirth of vinyl articles. Every so often, you get a rash of these pieces which claim that vinyl is on its way back and we should prepare our turntables for what’s to come.

In this case, it’s the spurt in the number of pressing plants operating in the United States which is the impetus behind the story. Some of the plants report that they’ve more work on hand that they can cope with, which is great to hear.

While vinyl sales are up, it’s worth noting that they’re a little insignificant in the bigger scheme of things. Just 1.4 per cent of all album sales in 2013 were on vinyl, putting those couple of million sales into perspective. Vinyl is never doing to be back running things as was the case 30 years ago.

Yet despite the lowball numbers, vinyl’s fortunes show that formats do not simply fade away when music fans move onto something else. While the obsolescence loop means a lot of tech products and especially services are gone in the blink of an eye, vinyl’s resistance to fading away is quite remarkable.

Music on vinyl undoubtedly sounds warmer and better than other formats, but its continued presence in the marketplace appears based more on trends and aesthetics than sonic quality. Vinyl represents authenticity to many who embrace the format as a statement against the mass market. It’s a badge of honour, a form of shorthand about your values and tastes.

It’s also a sign that you’re willing to spend a lot of cash on a record. This revival has come with a hefty price tag, which is good news for labels with acts who appeal to the vinyl-buying constituency. As with so much in the modern music business, there’s cash to be made in the most unlikely of places.