What If Free Streaming Is Causing the Vinyl Boom?

Album Sales Fall In Every Format Except Vinyl, Thanks To Free Streaming

The music industry is still experiencing a vinyl resurgence. But maybe it’s not a coincidence that it’s happening alongside streaming.

We know that the music industry has been experiencing a resurgence in vinyl LP sales.  That’s been a strange, unexpected phenomenon for roughly a decade.   In fact, sales in vinyl recently reached their highest level since 1988, and thanks to a recent ICM poll, we also know that free streaming is helping to drive those sales.

The poll found that music fans are using platforms like YouTube, Soundcloud and ad-supported tiers on services like Spotify to sample music before they decide if they want to invest in a physical purchase.  The study found that the most frequent vinyl buyer is a free-access streamer, a discovery that suggests that free music has the ability to ‘drive real-world sales’.

Now, thanks to data from BuzzAngle, we know exactly how much vinyl sales have increased. According to BuzzAngle’s mid-year report, vinyl LP sales in the US between the first six months in 2015 to the first six months in 2016 have experienced a 17% increase.

Vinyl LP Sales 17% Higher Than This Time Last Year

Overall album sales dropped from over 100 million in the first six months of 2015, to just over 86 million in the first six months of 2016.  That’s a 14% decline, with a 17% decrease in digital album sales, and an 11% decline in CD sales factoring into the drop.

That may be part of an entirely new exposure-to-purchase pathway, one that leaves digital downloads in the dust, puts CDs on the periphery, and hoists LPs to a brand new renaissance.  Maybe free streaming isn’t so bad, after all.

Overall, vinyl LP sales have grown from 2.6 million units in the first six months of 2015, to over 3 million in the first six months of 2016.

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

One Response

  1. Hollywood Non Reporter

    Everytime I look in the vinyl racks I see the same old re-released titles from the 70s and the same old “recent” titles .. you know.. Bowie, Daft Punk, Mc Cartney .. it seems so establishment.. I mean.. Fleetwood Mack was there too..

    Hardly riveting stuff..

    can’t help but walk away and go find somethin’ else to do..