Vinyl Sales May Be Rising, But Have You Seen Who’s Buying It?
The demographic of the average vinyl buyer is very clear. It’s a middle-aged man, possibly bearded (OK, definitely bearded); kids have probably left home, no longer on speaking terms with wife, spare bedroom has become a shrine to his teenage love: the Floyd (their album The Endless River was the best-selling vinyl LP in 2014). Essentially it’s me.
Vinyl will never again reach the 1970s and 80s heyday. Having reached a nadir in 2007, when vinyl album sales slumped to 205,292, last year they topped 1m. The predictions for 2015 suggest double that. It’s now the craft beer of music formats. But just as craft beer is not the answer to the alarming closure rate of public houses, neither will vinyl save the music industry. It will survive thanks to the network of enthusiastic collectors, indie record labels and DJs – but no thanks to any input from the major labels.
The problem the indies face is that they are being crowded out of the marketplace by the enthusiastic entry of companies like Universal Music Group who are said to have reissued 1,500 different titles on vinyl this year – most of which could be picked up in a charity store for pennies.