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VINYL LP SALES RISE SHARPLY

 

Vinyl LP sales are on the increase in both the UK and USA, recent sales data shows. The UK posted a 54% increase to 1.2m, and the USA 40.4% to 4m, over 2014, so vinyl is re-gaining popularity in both markets; the UK's rise isn't an isolated local phenomenon.

   The British Phonographic Institute (BPI) issued a fascinating set of figures at the end of December 2014 that we've graphed to show the trend. Here's some background: LP sales in the UK peaked at 92 million in 1975, our BPI Yearbooks show, and were in decline well before the arrival of CD, having plummeted to 54m in 1983, the year CD was launched. For a short period, before CD caught on, it was the pre-recorded cassette that took over, with sales of 55m in 1985 for example. Nowadays, it is CD that is reaching life's end, with around 50million sold end of 2014, we estimate from 2013 sales figures and the downward trend line.
    Interestingly there has been a change of attitude in the music business to match that of consumers: vinyl is now seen as a 'heritage format', rather than an old analogue format hopelessly outdated in a shiny digital world. It now comes with shed loads of cool, helped by being a tactile medium easy to use and lovely to behold, due to generously sized cover artworks that look good and feel good in the home. Here's what the BPI now say about the LP.

 

BRITISH PHONOGRAPHIC INDUSTRY, DECEMBER 2104
"Vinyl still remains a niche product, accounting for just 2 per cent of the UK’s recorded music market compared with a 10 per cent share for the fast-growing audio-streaming sector, but sales of the much-loved physical format have shown a remarkable fivefold increase since 2009, and show little sign of slowing down.
    In part made popular again by annual events such as the Record Store Day held by independent music retailers each April, vinyl is regarded by many as an art-form long valued for its authentic audio quality as well as its iconic cover art and sleeve notes.
    Burgeoning demand is coming not just from core ‘baby-boomer’ music fans, who grew up with vinyl recordings and have ‘kept the faith’, but increasingly from a new generation of younger fans eager to appreciate its appeal for the first time alongside the seamless versatility and convenience offered by digital music.  In fact we appear to be entering a more pronounced multi-channel era, where streaming music day-to-day and collecting physical recordings of your favourite artists can be seen as complementary passions.  
    Record labels are also helping to boost the popularity of vinyl with increased promotional activity – Universal Music UK, for example, is offering independent music retailers an early seasonal boost in the form of 12 exclusive vinyl releases to roll out onto their shelves from December 1st.  The “12 Days of Christmas” initiative includes gems from the Universal Music catalogue such as a heavy-weight etched and numbered 7” of The Who’s ‘Be Lucky’ – never previously available on vinyl – and a limited release of The Beatles’ ‘Long Tall Sally’, which is back on 7” vinyl 50 years after it was first released".

 

BPI VINYL SALES FIGURES (UK)

Year    LP Sales    Market Share
1994   1,453,718    2.2%
1995   1,410,905    1.6%
1996   1,083,206    1.0%
1997   817,018      0.7%
1998   642,102      0.5%
1999   672,866      0.6%
2000   751,857      0.6%
2001   761,558      0.5%
2002   657,127      0.4%
2003   579,248      0.4%
2004   453,254      0.3%
2005   351,224      0.2%
2006   250,926      0.2%
2007   205,292      0.1%
2008   208,526      0.2%
2009   219,449      0.2%
2010   234,471      0.2%
2011   337,041      0.3%
2012   388,768      0.4%
2013   780,674      0.8%
2014   1,200,000   2.0% (estimated)

 

 

Sources

BPI  (UK)  –    www.bpi.co.uk

Nielsen  (USA)   –    www.nielsen.com

 

 

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