It’s been a record few years for the vinyl industry. An incredible 4.2 million vinyl records were sold in the UK in 2018, while vinyl now accounts for one in ten purchases of music in a physical format.
These figures highlight one thing – that many music listeners still value being able to hold music in their hand, rather than passively experiencing it through a digital medium.
In the words of Jon Tolley, owner of the independent record shop Banquet Records: “People are rejecting this part of modern society where everything is immediate and nothing means anything.”
Ahead of Record Store Day, we explore why vinyl records are so popular – and why protecting them is a necessity.
The vinyl revival
Vinyl sales reached a 25-year high in 2016, with more than 3.2 million records being sold, according to the British Phonographic Industry.
This record was broken again in 2017, when the sales of vinyl records rose to 4.1 million. Although the sales of vinyl records in the UK plateaued slightly in 2018, rising by 1.6% from the previous year, the vinyl record market is still in a generally healthy state.
‘Vinyl now accounts for roughly 3% of all music consumed’
Vinyl now accounts for roughly 3% of all music consumed, including digital, streaming, and physical releases. In fact, the Arctic Monkeys album Tranquillity Base Hotel and Casino sold an impressive 38,000 copies in vinyl format last year.
By contrast, the CD market has declined significantly in recent years. Just 32 million CDs were sold in the UK in 2018, which is almost 100 million fewer than were sold in 2008 – a drop of 9.6 million year-on-year.
The fact that vinyl record sales are still consistently rising year-on-year, despite declines in other areas, is a testament to the vinyl market’s resurgence.
“There’s a reason it’s called Record Store Day… The day is set to help the shops who may well struggle the rest of the year. And it IS a help.”
— UK Music (@UK_Music) April 12, 2019
This resurgence has spread far and wide – so much so, that soundtracks are now appearing in this format.
The Game of Thrones soundtrack has been released on 11 different vinyl configurations. Nine cover variants representing each house crest, one color variant with fire and ice colored vinyl, and one standard.
Clearly, the vinyl record market is in a very healthy state – but what’s behind its success?
Don’t call it nostalgia
Whilst it’s easy to attribute the increase in vinyl sales to a healthy dose of nostalgia, the biggest players in this market are actually Millennials – those born long after the LP boom.
So, why are they investing in records?
Well, vinyl records can be owned for decades, even centuries, and can be kept in perfect condition if properly looked after. Unlike digital music, you don’t have to worry about your phone being reset and losing a playlist, or your tablet running out of battery.
There’s a certain permanence about the vinyl record. You only need to visit Spillers Records, the world’s oldest vinyl records shop in Cardiff, to realise that.
However, the vinyl record’s appeal stretches far beyond just its longevity. The sound quality of a vinyl record is considered by some to be much ‘warmer’ and more authentic than that of an MP3 file.
We asked panellist and music journalist Nicolas Tyrell what he believes is behind the resurgence of vinyl records.
“Vinyl is a rebellion against digital. Things can be deleted from the internet, but a record is something tangible.
“Millennials really resonate with authenticity, from activism to veganism, and this transcends into music. Vinyl allows you to own a part of history, not just stream it.”
Nicolas’ favourite vinyl records are 2014 Forest Hills Drive by J Cole and Thriller by Michael Jackson.
Royston Gooden is another keen advocate of vinyl records. He is a singer, dancer and choreographer who runs the international talent agency ‘RnD Creatives’. As a performer, he’s worked with Estelle, among others.
“Vinyl records are great collector’s items with so much imagery and information that the internet is lacking these days!
“My favourite all-time albums have to be Bad, Thriller and my absolute favourite, the Velvet Rope by Janet Jackson. Oh, and a sprinkle of Bob Marley, obviously!”
How to protect your vinyl records
As we’ve established, vinyl records hold a great deal of sentimental and physical value to their owners – and are considered priceless in some cases.
However, they are not just a pastime. To people like DJs and avid vinyl collectors, they are essential everyday items.
Therefore, it goes without saying that such precious items need to be protected as much as possible. If you use vinyl records as part of your job or are a vinyl collector, imagine how disastrous it would be if they were lost, stolen or damaged.
Admittedly, you can never truly replace your vinyl records if something happens to them. However, with the right cover, you can ensure that you’re not left completely empty-handed and can buy a replacement to cushion the blow.
That’s why, at Insure4Music, we offer specialist vinyl insurance for DJs and vinyl record collectors. This insures your vinyl records against theft, loss and damage, up to a value of £50,000. Starting from just £25.79 a year*, this protects them both in and out of the home.
Get an instant online quote with us today and continue living the vinyl revival with peace of mind.
*Price includes introductory 10% discount. Correct as of April 2019.