Vinyl Sales Up 38 Percent In 2014…

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4.0 million LPs have been sold this year in the US alone, according to stats shared this morning by Nielsen Soundscan.  That’s a 40.4 percent increase over the same period last year, when sales reached 2.9 million units.  In 2013, LP sales grew 30.4 percent year-over-year.

please note: in the first run of this article, we incorrectly stated the increase as 40.4%.

33 Responses

  1. Yowza

    This is great! Whether anyone can hear the difference or not, sales going up is good, high rings, and more importantly it gets artwork back to the forefront of an album.

  2. Veteran - US MUSIC INDUSTRY 1970-today

    8 million units is a nice niche market segment.

  3. Stream

    Meanwhile, streaming is poised to increase about 30-40% in 2014 to end up with over $2,000,000,000 in revenue.

    • TuneHunter

      So it will grow approximately 600M …and will demolish $2B at iTunes, Amazone and Conventional Radio.

      Pathetic rat race to dead end tunnel!

      All Radio, all Streamers and few million web sites have to be converted to music stores.

      Very easy task if we evict mooches like Shazam, Soundhound, TheEchoNest, Gracenote, Google Sound Search and lyrics ID services from the MUSIC HOUSE.

      Over 2 billion users of those industrial nerds have to be converted from looters to buyers of music.

      We need just new FAIR USE ACT to make music merchandise again. Without it Google, the advertising MONK, will keep meet grinding one dollar of music to 5 cents of poisoned dog food. All other ID services would receive new live and well deserved IPOs.

      • TrulyScrumptious

        I’m not sure I 100% agree with you, TuneHunter. I pay a monthly fee to Spotify, however, I also spend a good amount of money on legally purchasing music whether on Amazon (I don’t do iTunes) or on vinyl. The people I know who collect vinyl are all extremely adamant about purchasing music in a way that the artist gets maximum benefit, mostly because most of them are artists themselves. Most of these people work at Shazam, Soundhound, and The Echo Nest.

        We need to stop thinking of today’s music in archaic terms. In the past, there was a set way for artists to get paid for their talent- they write the songs, send them to a label, the label produces the music and sends it to the radio stations. Airplay provides interest, tours and record sales thus paying the label back and putting a little money into the artist’s pocket. Now, the system has changed. Artists like Justin Beiber, Avicii, Nicki Minaj, Adele, Lily Allen, etc have all found success online before being signed to a label. I don’t work in the music industry, but from what I’ve seen, the digital age has opened up doors to artists without the connections or means to get a record exec to listen to their demo. Several lesser known artists that I connected with via Twitter are using Shazam, Soundhound, etc to get their music heard, and people are still buying it afterwards. In fact, most people I know are more likely to pay for that music since they know the artist is getting the full amount and it’s not being skimmed off to the fat cats in an office in LA or Nashville. I’m not going to spend $25 to buy something I don’t know I like, so why not have the ability to preview it first – more than the 30 seconds iTunes and Amazon give you?

  4. FarePlay

    If CD sales cave the way some predict, Vinyl may get to 50 million in 5 years. I was just showing my Dave Mason “Alone Together” tri-fold, multi color disk LP to huge grins the other day..

    It is to bad we have an entire generation that never really got a chance to own physical product, it’s pretty cool and you even know who played on the recording. Imagine dat.

    You remember that Veteran – US MUSIC INDUSTRY 1970-TODAY. We’ll have to swap War Stories someday.

    • Anonymous

      All future generations will not buy a physical product. They only sold physical products before because there was no digital alternative. Now that there is, physical is unneeded and to be dispensed with.

      • cutselekta

        physical is needed, without that you might as well be dead.

        people want to touch things, rather than living in a virtual world.

  5. Maugarz

    First good thing nasty hipsters are good for.

  6. jw

    8.3m is the number of new sales. I have a feeling this is dwarfed by the sale of vintage vinyl. I started collecting around 8 or 9 years ago & my collection is probably 70/30 vintage vinyl over new vinyl. There’s probably never been a music format with a used market as strong as vinyl’s is right now.

    Anyone arguing that this is a niche market, or that it’s a fad, probably doesn’t see the full breadth of the consumer appeal. Vintage vinyl is easily accessible (readily available & oftentimes cheap), has a very high collectors appeal, much like mp3s, & quickly creates a sense of investment on the part of the consumer.

    These aren’t going to show up in RIAA’s #s, but they’re all qualities that are going to encourage the growth of the new vinyl sector for some time to come.

    • FarePlay

      JW. Agreed, although it really doesn’t help out the musician or songwriter financially.

  7. There is+something...

    I never understand the interest of buying vinyl for music digitally recorded and mixed. I can see why you would buy a vinyl rather than a CD or MP3 from an artist who recorded and mixed 100% analog, but how many artist do this today ? All this vinyl stuff sound like hipsters hysteria to me.

    • Versus

      If the digital source is the same is the CD (or equivalent 16-bit 44.1kHz) source, then presumably there is no audible advantage to vinyl, and most likely a disadvantage, since music should be mastered differently for vinyl than CD.

      However, arguably, if the digital source is superior to CD (higher bit-rate and/or sampling frequency than 16-bit 44.1kHz), then the vinyl transfer might retain some of that fidelity which is lost in the downward digital conversion to CD (or, God forbid, further downward conversion to MP3).

      All of that is about fidelity. The B-side of the argument is that of non-fidelity: that vinyl operates as a process/effect which changes, rather than simply preserves, the audio material, but in a pleasing way. That is, vinyl (at least potentially) distorts sound in a beautiful way. This is the magical “warmth”, “mojo”, “vibe”, “organic quality”, “musicality”, which is so often praised. Others may reject this sound and prefer the crisp precision of digital files (which still must be converted into the analog realm to be audible, of course).

      • Anonymous

        Important also to note that most modern vinyl pressings will use different masters than their digital counterparts which are more compressed

  8. blahblahblah

    Kind of nice that vinyl is the last format standing but it surely isn’t going to mean much to the ailing industry as a whole. I suppose an artist of Jack White’s caliber can cash in on a vinyl release, as he did with his gimmicky new album promoted with an infomercial. good for him. I ordered one. Received it weeks ago and still haven’t bothered to listen.

  9. first things first

    Why would I spend all that money to make a vinyl print, just so that someone would rip it to mp3 and upload it to Pirate Bay?

    What the plants/manufacturers don’t realize is, they should spend their PR money to fight piracy, instead of trying to lure us into printing vinyl.

    Make piracy go away, then we can talk.

    • GGG

      Uh…people that buy your vinyl buy it because they want it. The people that upload stuff onto piratebay aren’t dropping $18 on a vinyl when it’s available digitally.

  10. FarePlay

    While I don’t agree with the first part of your statement, I buy vinyl because I want it and the fact that the same music is available for free on pirate sites doesn’t matter. I want to support the artist who make the music, I GET value out of that.

    To your second point. Why legal streaming sites, at the very least, don’t come out and support initiatives that would slow down piracy is unfortunate. Although, the stigma around anti-piracy and how that is big business or anti-free speech BS rhetoric is still around. Many of the artists I work with are still afraid to say what they believe.

    Fortunately, the Congressional Subcommittee on Copyright does get the absurdity and unfairness of the current take down policy and its’ gaping loophole. It will be changed:

  11. Willis

    While 38% is a nice increase, and the overall market size is respectable, such an increase upon a smaller base number isn’t something that people should get too excited about. The future doesn’t look bright.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      It’s a good point, though there are different ways to look at that. Of course, this is happening off a base of nearly zero, which means percentage gains are misleading (same thing happened with downloads, then streaming, etc., there are often 150% increases to shout about when things are brand new).

      Then again, remember that almost nobody saw this coming. A vinyl comeback? It was almost as laughable as a cassette comeback just a few years ago (and I’ll hold my tongue on cassettes starting right now…)

    • GGG

      I think we should get excited about anything in the industry that shows a growth. We don’t have to start throwing money at opening new pressing plants, but there’s little things you can do to keep the ball rolling, or attempt to at least.

  12. Versus

    Has anyone traced the historical reasons for this vinyl revival properly?

    Some speculations of my own:
    – the general retro/analog backlash against the digital age
    – sounds better? (arguable)
    – looks better (almost every time someone puts on music in a movie, it’s vinyl, even in some futuristic sci-fi: see key scenes in Oblivion (Led Zeppelin) and Equilibrium (Beethoven)) (especially every movie DJ scene!)
    – socially “sharable” in the real world – it’s more fun to play albums with friends, or browse through a friend’s album collection
    – DJs – even though most DJs have moved to digital files, most DJs love the look/feel and tactile control of vinyl; hence the various DJ controllers that actually use digital vinyl or attempt to emulate the feel with controllers
    – hipster contrariness: do the opposite of what everyone else is doing (of course, reflexive non-conformism is just as silly as reflexive conformism)

    Any other speculations?

    • GGG

      I’d agree there’s varying extents of truth in all those. I also think people just like collecting things and almost being competitive at it. Saying your iTunes library is 300GB isn’t really as impressive as saying you’ve got 300 records or whatever. Because there was no challenge in obtaining it. Much probably cost no money if you pirated a lot, it’s all easily available digitally obviously, etc. Whereas vinyl shows you like went on a quest maybe, to find that rare pressing.

      • blahblahblah

        Good points. I think that it’s safe to say that people who buy vinyl like it to be known that they take their music seriously. Even if it is just a phase some of them are going through. There are far worse things for the followers of the world to latch onto.

  13. Versus

    One contrary question:

    What about the environmental cost?

    – A lifelong vinyl collector (from childhood through DJing through home collecting, although I also collected CDs and digital files, ideally lossless/CD quality or higher)

  14. hippydog

    I wonder if Technics is kicking themselves now for making the decision to discontinue making their turntables?

  15. DJ Cut Blaster

    Another good thing about Vinyl is that you can convert to CD/MP3/WAV and still have a physical copy.

    Plastic CD covers pretty much suck compared to vinyl covers, plus nothing beats manipulating vinyl as a DJ.

    Im pretty sure ove 10 million units will be sold because its impossible to count all independent and 2nd hand sales that never get scanned, i actually think about 15 million records are sold this year.

  16. ralph Kent

    Bet the UK pressing plants who junked all their machinery are regretting it now!

  17. Retired In Kalifornia

    I come from the age of just vinyl back when 78s were still for sale. Artwork on LPs were fabulous expressions of what you’d might hear once the needle was dropped. I’m a “from the beginning” active Susan Boyle fan who very much wants her work impressed on vinyl particularly the three recordings she made at Heartbeat Studios in Edinburgh in 1997: “Cry Me A River”, “Killing Me Softly With His Song”, “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” now co-owned by her & SONY all of which were inspired from vinyl recordings she’d heard whilst growing up. If for anything else I’d love to see the artwork of such a vinyl album of hers.

  18. Progrez

    I highly doubt this is new sales, these are just sales from vinyl enthusiast purely in it for nostalgic reasons and 99% of the sales are probably 2nd hand sales and not new ones

  19. Ben

    Record companies are touting vinyls to compensate lost profits from downloading (legal and illegal) in this digital age. Seriously, why would someone fork out $45 for a double Electric Ladyland vinyl set when the label is Universal, not the original Track Record? Imagine the trouble of flipping and changing records just to finish listening to both vinyls. Many, including myself, are still buy second hand vinyls purely for nostalgic reasons. The joy of using your own fingers to flip that roll (or pile) of vinyls is incomparable to browsing new releases in Also, we had only so little money during middle and high school days. Now it’s the time to get those titles we missed when we only had $50 pocket money a month. Also, many of these new vinyls are box sets with multiple CDs and vinyls. This vinyl resurgence won’t last too long. Enjoy and brag while you can.