Have you heard that 26% of music albums sold in the US in 2019 were vinyl? It is unbelievable, isn’t it? However, vinyl record sales increase every year, and more fans of good music are becoming fans of vinyl records.
Vinyl records outsold CDs in 2020, which is quite unusual and unexpected. So, the question is, why buy vinyl records in the 21st century when we can find everything online or buy more convenient CDs? Let’s discuss the subject.
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Why Do People Still Buy Vinyl Records?
The 2021 year was the 16th successive year with a significant vinyl album sale growth. A quarter of all physical albums sold in the US in 2019 were vinyl records.
However, that was changed in 2021 when one out of every three albums sold in the country were vinyl. Americans purchased an impressive 41.72 million vinyl albums this year, or 51.4% more than 2020.
Official best-selling vinyl singles in 2021
|The Specials||Ghost town|
|Harry Styles||Watermelon sugar|
|Morrissey & David Bowie||Cosmic dancer|
|Kylie Minogue & Dua Lipa||Real groove|
|Liam Gallagher||All you’re dreaming of|
|ABBA||I still have faith in you|
|Billie Eilish||No time to die|
|Baddiel, Skinner, and Lightning Seed||Three lions|
|Paul Weller||Cosmic fringes|
|New Order||Blue Monday|
|Yard Act||Dark days|
|Declan Mckenna||British bombs|
|Lathums||I see your ghost|
|David Bowie||The prettiest star|
|Biffy Clyro||Errors in the history of God|
The question is, why do people still buy this old-fashioned music format? Music lovers seem sick of technique, online music videos, and streaming, so they look for something more natural and emotional.
Official best-selling vinyl albums in 2021
|Amy Winehouse||Back to black|
|Lana Del Rey||Chemtrails over the Country Club|
|Wolf Alice||Blue Weekend|
|Harry Styles||Fine line|
|Sam Fender||Seventeen going under|
|Pink Floyd||The dark side of the moon|
|Coldplay||Music of the spheres|
|Foo Fighters||Medicine at midnight|
|Noel Gallagher’s High Flying||Back the way we came – Vol 1|
|Billie Eilish||Happier than ever|
Vinyl records offer a unique listening experience and a different pace. That was why increased sales started in 2019 when the revenue was an incredible $504 million in the US alone. That was the highest profit in this industry in the past 32 years.
Why Are Vinyl Records Unique?
Many hard-core collectors and new music fans appreciate vinyl records more than other sound formats. They typically consider records as a unique art form with an excellent feel to the sound. I will give you a list of reasons why vinyl rules, and their sales have skyrocketed in the past few years.
1. Sound quality
Even though vinyl records’ production, storing, and selling are expensive, people like them. Simply said, vinyl sounds better than digital files and CDs and reproduces a sound maximally similar to the original recording.
Additionally, contemporary vinyl sounds better than those produced in the 1960s or 1970s. Still, true admirers appreciate the unique crackling sound and specific needle hum they can recognize while moving along the record grooves.
There is one more thing. It is impossible to produce music that sounds much louder than it naturally should. This loudness war destroyed audio quality, removed songs’ depth, and caused them to sound unpleasant and somehow distorted.
Unlike digital format, vinyl records provide sound quality with specific richness, diversity, and warmth. It is particularly noticeable when you have vinyl recorded through analog technology.
2. Listening to vinyl is an event
Unlike widely available streaming music, you can only listen to your vinyl record on a turntable in your home. It may sound complicated and impractical, but this is a way to rediscover that the best music deserves time and full attention.
3. Diverse audiophiles
Surprisingly, millennials are among the most die-hard vinyl fans, and over 70% of the album buyers are those younger than 35. Besides those who discovered how sophisticated taste their parents had, you can see vinyl collectors who enjoy looking for favorite pieces. They are typically over 36 and makeup 27% of vinyl buyers.
4. Visual features
As you know, album covers are often stunning pieces of art, making them fascinating for collectors. They usually frame favorite albums and display them on their home walls, which is not even similar to the same attempt with CDs.
Besides, you can effortlessly read album notes, statements of gratitude, and composers’ and producers’ credits.
5. Tactile experience
Many music lovers feel that vinyl allows necessary physical interaction with music and provides the possibility to experience it in the right way while listening to it.
In other words, you can physically enjoy opening the polybags, jackets, and inner sleeves and smelling the album cover before placing the record on the turntable.
6. Buying vinyl is an ultimate experience
Finding new vinyl records in person can be a thrilling experience, and many people enjoy it. They usually prepare for purchasing, but the quest is an interesting and exciting part. It includes:
- Finding a specialty store and visiting it
- Exchanging experiences and asking for recommendations
- Looking for gems in shop’s corners
- Reminiscing memories
- Listening to favorite records for hours
The most exciting thing is that you never know what you can discover in the store.
7. Support for artists
Unlike streaming, which is profitable for famous musicians, most artists can barely make a living wage that way. Therefore, spending $20 on their vinyl records is an excellent possibility to support these performers.
8. Slow listening as a therapy
Keep in mind that listening to vinyl records is not an ideal experience. You can hear some pops and crackles while spinning, while the sound quality is pretty inconsistent. Finally, every piece wears out over the years due to regular use.
However, vinyl admirers find all these imperfections a part of their charm. They enjoy that slow and delicate process of use crudely repressed during the rat race we are exposed to daily. Vinyl requires attention, slow-motion, time, and dedication, calming and relaxing you while offering a real therapeutic experience.
Unlike licensing music on streaming sites, you can own your vinyl records. Most collectors understand the new pieces of vinyl’s potential as an investment, particularly those in first-class condition.
The Most Expensive Records Worldwide
|The Wu-Tang Clan||Once Upon a Time in Shaolin||$2,000,000|
|The Beatles||The Beatles||$790,000|
|Elvis Presley||My Happiness||$300,000|
|The Beatles||Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band||$290,500|
|The Quarrymen||That’ll Be the Day||£200,000 ($240,500)|
Most vinyl records are beautiful and highly collectible, and some pieces hold more value than other music formats. Therefore, it is possible for certain famous singers’ records value to increase over time.
Vinyl Records Advantages and Downsides
- Vinyl has a unique sound like any streaming or CD can’t provide
- The vinyl record comes with a nostalgic feel rooted in the buying, owning, and listening experience
- Vinyl demands time, attention, and dedication
- It is the faff experience with a therapeutic effect
- Vinyl supports thoughtfulness in working since you need to make a break every 15 to 22 minutes to turn it
- Vinyl will improve your taste in music and takes you back to a time when it wasn’t only background noise but enjoyment and entertainment
- Surface noises and crackling can be annoying
- It is not a portable option, and you can’t send a copy to your friends
- Vinyl maintenance and storing can be time-consuming and a bit complicated since you need to provide a moisture-free place with adequate storage temperatures
- Vinyl holds less music but is twice as expensive as a CD
Tips for Purchasing Second-Hand Vinyl
You should be careful when buying second-hand vinyl records and check the desired piece thoroughly to prevent possible disappointment. Let’s take a look at several insider secrets that will make your purchasing satisfying.
- Judge the vinyl record by its cover
- Pick out a bright piece since its grooves are less worn
- Check a vinyl for dust and scuffs and highly problematic scratches
- Play the vinyl record if the store has a turntable
- Clean the vinyl before the first play to get the best sound and prevent possible damage
- Compare the price with those on Discogs, but be prepared to pay more in shops because of service and their fees
- Be careful when buying online and try other options besides eBay and Discogs
There is one more crucial thing you should keep in your mind. Always check whether your turntable can play a particular vinyl record. It is not enjoyable to later discover that you mistakenly bought a 78 rpm instead of the necessary 33 1/3 or 45 rpm.
Collecting vinyl records has become an ultimate experience for new generations. The fact is that they reproduce a sound as close to the original recording as possible, which most fans find incredible and ultimately enjoyable.
People prefer this way of listening to music because of the sound quality, supporting the artist, and top-notch artwork feeling. If you have ever enjoyed one of the hits on a vinyl record, you exactly know what I am talking about. Let it spin!