All good things make a comeback, don’t they? Well at least in music, comebacks are a good thing; Vinyl is resurging, and in a big way.
For the past few years, the LP sales have increased to levels never expected in the industry. According to The Nielsen Company, in 2009, 2.5 million vinyl albums were sold, up 33% from the 1.8 million sold on 2008.
But why would music fans buy a music format that was almost extinct?
“People like to hold an object” explains John Echeverria, Chief of Operations for Universal Music Latino.“If you are talking about vinyl, you are talking about an antique.”
Since fans previously accepted the vinyl format, it is only natural to want to hold on to something that represented a period of their lives. Echeverria calls this “the nostalgia effect.” Younger generations also want to be a part of music history or be connected with the artist.
Echeverria explains there are three markets for albums: First, is the collectionists market, which has boosted the sales of alternative rock, classic rock and Indie artists. There is also the underground or rare albums market, which has boomed, especially in Japan. Third, there’s the DJ market, through which new Hip Hop and House LP albums are released.
Junior Jens Christian Norgaard, 27, a music business major, and producer, thinks the vinyl craze is a fashion statement.
“If you are a real fan, you want a vinyl,” Christian said. “Instead of a download you get the sleeves, you get the artwork, you get everything.”
For a lot of DJ’s, spinning in vinyl is not only cool but a sign of skill, since it is much more difficult to mix using this format.
Additionally, fans seek vinyl because of its higher sound quality.
“People still like the warm sound of vinyl, because it’s an analog sound” Nogaard explained.
The compressions made to an MP3 file make the songs crisper and brighter, but the lose some of the richness and warmth that vinyl has.
This trend also puts local mom and pop records stores in a much better position. According to Billboard magazine, more than 2 out of every 3 vinyl albums were purchased at an independent music store during the year. This might also be a reaction to the perceived monopoly iTunes holds on music sales.
For those joining the vinyl craze, independent record stores are the best stop. Miami’s Sweat Records is one of the best local spots for unique music in all formats, especially vinyl. Amazon.com also offers vinyl albums, most of which are rock or indie.
Searching for your own vinyl collection? Look no further…
WHAT: Sweat Records
WHERE: 5505 NE 2nd Avenue, Miami, FL
WHEN: Monday – Saturday, 12 p.m. – 10 p.m.
COST: Vinyl records vary in cost, ranging from $8 – $80, depending on the album’s year and condition.