Vinyl Sales Soar in 2021

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In a world of the temporary and disposable, MRC’s recent data has shown vinyl sales have increased by 108% from 2020.

Vinyl sales are up 108%

19.2 million vinyl have reportedly been sold in the first half of 2021, firmly cementing its return to popularity in the modern-day music industry. Although the volume of people streaming music has also grown in the first six months of the year, the significance of the increase in vinyl sales is fascinating as fans appear to push back against the modern consumption of music.

In an era of accessibility, where music is everywhere and accessible from any device, why are we seeing an increase in the most static, arguably clunky and least mobile form of music ownership? As an avid vinyl collector myself, I enjoy the tactility records give to music. It offers my favourite songs and albums a physicality, rather than simply floating in the ether of streaming services.

The role of artists

But this increase in vinyl sales isn’t solely driven by fans. Modern artists have started offering buyers exclusive products when they purchase vinyl e.g., posters, graphic cases and even vibrantly coloured records, which allow this form of music consumption to become collectable. The focus is shifting away from the music itself, and towards the package within which the music is delivered. Vinyl is becoming a shrine to the artists, or emblems of themes discussed within their music. Some musicians even release collector’s editions of vinyl, further encouraging fans to view their albums or EPs in this heightened way.

Music is now not just for listening to. Music is for holding, displaying, collecting and comparing. Vinyl gives a physical body to an art form that was losing its identity. Where music was downloaded and deleted, listened to and grown sick of faster than it can be produced. And this quick consumption and wide exploration are supported by the process of streaming music, which requires no commitment and offers free reign to dip in and out of different artists and styles. But in the face of all this, audiences seem to crave more connection to their music, and that is what vinyl offers.

Dance Music

If we cast our minds back 40 years, vinyl was once the heart of the dance music industry. DJs would play song after song on huge turntables as people moved their bodies along with the ridges of the records. Nowadays, vinyl has become more personal. It is played within our homes, perhaps fuelling us with nostalgia or connections to people to whom the album once belonged. Or it is part of a collection, a series of albums by our favourite artist or a single purchased so we could feel a treasured song between our hands.

However, it is doubtful vinyl will ever return to the dance music scene as it once did. With its escalating popularity, the price of its production is growing. It is now more expensive to press vinyl than ever, and that is closing a growing industry off to more underground, independent artists and blocking its return to a role of mass entertainment. It’s likely the convenience of modern technology for music venues will never be overtaken by the nostalgia or physicality of the growing popularity of vinyl.

Let us know your favourite ways of listening to music: do you prefer the endless options of streaming services or the tactility of vinyl? Reach us through our social channels:

Twitter: @LDCRadioLeeds

Instagram: ldcradio

Facebook: @LDCRadio

Written by: Melissa Watson

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