Is Vinyl Slowing Down? Early 2016 Data Raises Serious Concerns…

(EXCLUSIVE) Vinyl Sales Up10% Year Over Year
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Vinyl just keeps on growing, but is that growth slowing down?

The breakneck resurgence in vinyl started back in 2007, and sales have been booming ever since.  Just to highlight the current performance, here is a look at sales over the past few years.

Vinyl LP Sales 2013 – 2015 (in millions)
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(US-based; Nielsen Music)

That’s a path that will continue to elevate, but it’s now unclear if the gains are cooling.  DMN has now received exclusive, preliminary data from Nielsen Music, and the information shows that vinyl sales are already up 10 percent versus the same point last year, when looking at the top 100 vinyl LP sellers YTD.

The only problem is that 2015 sales were up roughly 30% over 2014, matching similar percentage gains the year earlier.  The question now is whether a 10 percent Q1 jump represents a broader deceleration.

Second quarter data will be critical, as will information on overall sales.  The figure obtained by DMN is just a measurement of the top-selling stuff, and not the broader pile (including sales outside the US).  Additionally, Nielsen isn’t tracking used sales, a critical part of the resurgence.

One thing that isn’t in doubt is that vinyl sales are still increasing, and will probably continue to elevate over the next few years.  In its email to DMN, Nielsen also outlined a few reasons for the continued growth:

(1) First, it’s a growing trend to own old records.  60% of all LP sales are catalog (18 months or older), and the top records sold are from artists like Bob Marley & The Wailers, The Beatles, and Pink Floyd.

(2) Not to mention, millennials, who are 60% more likely to buy LP records than the general population according to the same dataset.  It’s the younger demographic that are heavily investing in vinyl records to build their collections.

(3) And then there’s Rock.  Of all LPs sold last year, 68% of them were of the Rock genre.  By stark contrast, genres like EDM and Country are barely a blip on vinyl sales charts.

More as we receive more sales information.

(Image by Ian T. McFarland, Creative Commons, Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic, cc by-sa 2.0)

12 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    The problem is that vinyl just can’t reproduce the sound quality we’re used to today.

    And that’s what people begin to realize.

    • Simon

      I’ve not bought a CD in two years and it’s a thrill everyday to rediscover sounds I’d lost in the little silver discs.

    • PiratesWinLOL

      And how do these douchebags realize that? Half of them don’t even listen to the vinyl records they buy. The real issue is that the vinyl thing was a stupid fad, which doesn’t make sense at all.

      • Leon

        That’s too bad. I have more fun playing my records on my sweet setup than you do listening to your stolen music on your flac files or whatever earphones you’re using. It must suck being so poor that you can’t even afford to help artists :). Vinyl isn’t a trend or anything. It’s here to stay, I’m 16 and I didn’t know how fun buying records was till this year.

      • Your Mother

        It really isn’t a fad. It never died. And it’s a lossless format that you own outright. Have fun licensing your soulless compressed files.

  2. Remi Swierczek

    Vinyl is like sprout of archaic seed on music industry corpse!

  3. Troglite

    I think the entire spike in vinyl sales is broadly misunderstood.

    I consider it to be both a temporary fad, and a promising long term opportunity.

    Its a fad driven largely by hipsters and audiophiles. The audiophiles have always been there. They are small in number. So, I attribute the observed spike to the hipsters. They’ll move on once the fad hits the mainstream.. because that’s what hipsters do.

    But, I actually think this fad points to a compelling long term opportunity that is VERY positive for the recording industry. I interpret the large % of millennial vinyl buyers who never actually listen to the analog albums they purchase as an indication that the physical packaging is motivating the purchase (not the media or listening experience). If that’s true, it would seem to indicate that music buyers place a significant value on something that has been completely and utterly missing from the digital music consumption experience. There’s money to be made for anyone who figures out how to deliver products/services that fill that gap.

  4. Anon

    The problem is at this point almost all of the most wanted catalog is out now on vinyl (Beatles, Stones, Led Zeppelin, etc). Warner should quickly press up their Prince catalog to make a nice spike. Catalog drives vinyl sales. Making a color vinyl version of a title already out can make a very short term increase, but it will not make a sustained difference. Labels now have to rely on second and third tier titles and artists to sustain vinyl’s sales, but they won’t.

  5. Anonymous

    The quality? Sound is incredibly better on vinyl even if to compare to hiQuality FLAC, everyone who says it’s BS has just never heard it. I’m telling you it’s clear. The only thing is that vinyls go bad after 20 years but who cares if mp3 sounds like sh in the beginning? Even though it has nothing to do with supporting artists – you do support artist when you are buying real mp3/Flac from iTunes or BandCamp, Loudr, when you are listening it on Spotify. Stealing mp3’s is not even a topic – you can listen music on youtube for 1000 times but then go and buy the whole album online. You can listen it for free on SoundCloud (which has better quality then Unofficially uploaded youtube music ) or BandCamp (which has a better Quality – what I believe in, then Soundcloud does) but then I might go to the artists web-site and simply donate em 100 bucks and I do these things. Well Ive listened to it 100 times, it gave me 100 good days. The artist might put much more time and effort in that music (and probably this is the case) then I’ve ever put into anything. You must understand if you don’t give back to those who support you you aren’t supporting your own future. The thing with the vinyl though is that you are getting a physical object connecting you with the artists and their energy. That is actually equally important to the fact how Good in fact is the vinyl’s sound. Don’t care much about people who are saying it’s wrong – there were people who were saying that the Earth is center of Universe and that was like … 500 years ago? Remember what happened to Copernicus and Galileo? It’s okay not to know any history, but then don’t wonder when same things keep happening repeatedly..

  6. ..

    The problem with most new music is that the record is no difference of a mastering as the cd is (for the most part, with a select few that actually get the art of mastering), and not to mention I’m sure most of these new vinyl listeners are using a POS Crosley or something similar.