12 LPs for a Penny? Columbia House Is Back, With Vinyl…

Back in April, Columbia House Music Club filed for bankruptcy, with mail-order tapes and CDs a thing of the distant past.  Now, after months of insolvency proceedings, Columbia House is planning a comeback, with vinyl.  “You can see a yearning and an interest to try a new format,” current Columbia House owner John Lippman told the Wall Street Journal.  “Convenience is not the end-all be-all in experiencing media.”

So far, it looks like Columbia House will re-launch in early 2016, with some sort of packaged, mail order vinyl offering.  Whether that’s the ’12 albums for a penny’ deal of yester-century is unclear, though Lippman is probably working on something that skips the middleman retailer.

That model made Columbia a successful proposition in the past, though vinyl is a different animal.  For starters, quantities of vinyl are far lower than the millions of LPs, tapes, and CDs sold in the 70s, 80s, and 90s.  Indeed, vinyl is pricey compared to CDs, and availability is oftentimes choked by manufacturing bottlenecks (an issue that is slowly being solved by some guys in Germany).

Right now, Columbia House is teasing the possibilities.  “Coming Soon,” a placeholder on columbiahouserecordclub.com reads.  “One of the most iconic names in music will return in 2016.”

Meanwhile, vinyl sales continue to surge, attracting ambitious, risk-taking entrepreneurs like Lippman.  The format boomed more than 50 percent during the first half of 2015, according to US-based stats from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).  Even more interestingly, the high-yielding format now trumps the revenues received from ad-supported streaming (also according to the RIAA).

Overall, however, vinyl remains pretty small.  At last count, the format accounted for roughly 7% of total recording sales, but crashing CDs and downloads could push vinyl into the double-digits by next year.

8 Responses

  1. Dave

    I doubt it will be some awesome deal like it used to be. My guess it will be some subscription thing like others are. If they are serious about a comeback, give us those great deals.

    • TM

      Gee Dave , are we negative or what. Can`t you just be happy that they are returning. My idea of a deal is in the quality and not the cost.

  2. Dave M

    I have always been a fan of records and have used Columbia house numerous times , with minimal issues . But then the CD format came on the market and it was great , so having sold all of my records and building my collection again . Of CDs , it is damn near impossible to find type of music on CD anywhere . I am not a fan of downloads . I prefer to have a CD in my hands to reads the inserts , just like a record . I’m sure I will not build another record collection . Just put all the classics back to CD format . Just like records , I’m sure in another few years CD format will return .

  3. Alex

    I love vinyl again. Last year I started buying LPs again which I could not have envisioned I would ever do again after CDs became cheaper whilst I was in college 1989-92. It just feels cool and I dig it.

  4. Nick Fox

    Did this ever happen ? I cant find anything on it anywhere .. Does anyone know where i can sign up ?

  5. william john greeks/w.greeks@yahoo.com/cell phone330-307-9190

    Would like to return movies intact and cancel subscription.Please provide adress to mail rerturns to.