Vinyl records are on pace to achieve another ‘record’ year — at least in the modern era.
The latest bullish data is coming from BuzzAngle, whose cofounder Chris Muratore divulged a range of vinyl stats at the Making Vinyl conference in Detroit earlier today. The conference, now in its second year, is yet another green shoot in this once-flatlined business sector.
In a morning session, Muratore offered a range of data related to vinyl, specifically for the US market. And by the end of the presentation and associated Q&A, it became apparent that Muratore’s data was pretty conservative — and purposefully so.
For starters, BuzzAngle is only counting substantiated point-of-sale (POS) transactions. That includes a range of indie retailers, online accounts, and other reporting outlets. But Muratore was careful to note that not everyone is reporting to BuzzAngle, which means this number is probably lower than what’s actually going on.
One manufacturer noted that United Pressing and Rainbo Records collectively surpass 10 million in a year — easily. And that’s just two plants.
Add the massive used vinyl market, and the figure presented above could be defensibly doubled.
Amazingly, vinyl is still experiencing double-digit growth, more than ten years after it started rebounding.
Of course, that’s happening against a collapsing CD, which means that vinyl is also becoming a bigger piece of the physical market. In fact, it’s quite plausible that vinyl records will become the dominant physical format in just a few years, depending on how quickly CD sales tank.
Meanwhile, there’s a possible resurgence also happening around the cassette. According to BuzzAngle’s data, cassette sales have already jumped 135% in 2018 YTD. By the end of the year, cassette sales could easily cross 150,000 units.
That’s nothing compared to CDs and vinyl records, but it’s something worth watching.
Rock is easily the most dominant vinyl genre, but rap/hip hop could be emerging.
Good old rock n’ roll is driving a hefty part of the vinyl resurgence, with catalog classics a major part of that story. But as the format grows, rock is actually ceding ground to other genres. According to Muratore, Rock accounted for 67% of all vinyl sales a few years ago. Now, that figure is down to 54%.
Pop is easily the next biggest draw, though Muratore is noticing an expected growth surge for hip hop albums. “Rap could be a rapid growth area,” Muratore noted, while pointing to the percentage gap between rap CDs and rap vinyl records.
Also on that point, Muratore pointed to Country as a potentially underdeveloped opportunity. The genre is easily one of the largest overall, yet it represents just 3% of vinyl sales. That seems strangely low.
Also interesting: vinyl record sales are fairly evenly spread throughout the week, outside of peak Friday and Saturday sales periods.
That’s not starkly different than CDs. But a strange jump is happening on vinyl record sales on Wednesdays. That could be a blip, or the result of better foot traffic in record stores and retailers that carry vinyl records.
Separately, the music industry’s recent shift to Friday album release days seems to be paying off. For whatever reason, album release dates used to be on Tuesday, at least in the US. The shift towards Friday has helped to align customers around weekend outings.
If you’re out at Making Vinyl in Detroit, come say hello! We’ve got a lot more coverage ahead, including a pair of vinyl-focused podcast interviews.