Reasons Behind the Upsurge in Vinyl Record Sales

Vinyl records, invented in the 19th century, are quickly regaining their popularity. It isn’t just the classic records that people want; modern mainstream artists are also releasing their songs in vinyl record format. Regarded as the choice of music “purists,” the surge in vinyl record sales is seen by many as the birth of a music sub-culture. Since 2008, the global vinyl records market has grown steadily. Even though it is too early to say whether vinyl records have reclaimed their past glory, there is no denying that this segment of the music industry is sure to continue growing at an impressive rate.

In 2015, the global vinyl records market stood at $537 million, and, according to analysts at Technavio, will witness a whopping CAGR of just over 55% by 2020.


Key drivers of the global vinyl records market

Aesthetic appeal of vinyl records

In an era of digitized music, vinyl records offer unprecedented aesthetic appeal. The experience that vinyl records provide for music lovers is one of the major reasons behind the increase in demand. There are many who feel that the music on vinyl records is far clearer-sounding than the music being released online. Apart from high quality music, it is the physicality of vinyl records that is attracting consumers. Experts believe that physically owning a record offers a ‘connection’ that cannot be made through a digital music file. Most importantly, vinyl records not only represent pop music’s history and heritage, but they also possess a cultural quality that is both modern and classic at the same time.


Return of turntable culture

The rebirth of turntable culture is another reason why vinyl records have regained popularity. Turntables witnessed nearly a 300% rise in sales in 2015, consequently fuelling the sale of vinyl records.


Promotion of vinyl records as a deluxe product

In an age where access to music is essentially free, vintage vinyl records have become deluxe products. People are now investing in vinyl records as collectors’ items. Vinyl record sellers are trying to differentiate their product offerings by creating deluxe, special edition, or limited edition records. Deluxe editions often include additional items such as posters, graphics, and booklets, making them even more desirable to consumers. One well-known example was the launch of limited edition vinyl copies of David Bowie’s final album, Blackstar.


Promotional events like Record Store Day

Founded in 2007, Record Store Day is an annual event that brings together fans, artists, and thousands of independent record stores across the world. A number of records are pressed specifically for the event, and are only distributed to participating shops. Record Store Day has helped promote vinyl records to young listeners and is often regarded as one of the major reasons for the revival of the global vinyl record market. Recently, a new event has been launched called Vinyl Tuesdays, with the aim to promote weekly releases and sales at local record stores.  

Many retailers and private labels are also promoting vinyl records, including Amazon, which has experienced a steady increase in record sales since 2013.

At present, the US dominates the vinyl records market, accounting for over half of the market share. Some of the major market players include GZ Media, Optimal Media, United Record Pressing, Record Industry and MPO International.

View the 2016-2020 Global Vinyl Records Market Report