Vinyl’s Revival Rolls On

As a music lover and record collector since the late 90s, I have loved the fact that records have made an incredible comeback. What was once thought to be a dead format has had a resurgence like no other. More exciting to me is the news that vinyl records have officially outsold CDs in the US. Jess Weatherbed from The Verge has more about this great news.

According to the Recording Industry Association of America’s (RIAA) annual revenue report, vinyl records outsold CDs in the US last year for the first time since 1987, selling 41 million units against 33 million for CD.

Vinyl record sales have consistently increased over the last 16 years according to the RIAA report published on Thursday, now accounting for 71 percent of all physical music format revenue. The growth margins here aren’t trivial, either — while physical formats as a whole increased by 4 percent, earning $1.7 billion between 2021 and 2022, vinyl sales alone accounted for $1.2 billion, experiencing a 17 percent increase in sales compared to the previous year. Comparatively, CD sales plummeted by 18 percent in 2022.

The Verge

In many ways, this shouldn't be surprising. From Third Man Records' pressing records at a high rate to the annual mega-success of Record Store Day, vinyl's resurgence makes sense. More and more people turning to the format for its warm, authentic sound and tactile experience. In response to the audiophile demand many major artists have started releasing new albums on vinyl. Many older albums are being reissued in high-quality vinyl editions. I quite enjoy that most new releases of albums include a physical LP edition.

While it may seem surprising that a format as old as vinyl is still selling so well in the digital age, it's important to remember that music fans have always been passionate about collecting physical media. Vinyl has a certain charm that simply can't be replicated by streaming or digital downloads. Everything is a personally-curated experience. There's the ritual of flipping through record bins. Then one carefully selects the next purchase. When you get it home there is the process of unsleeving it and starting a listening session. There is no comparison between listening to vinyl compared to streaming the same album.

I'm someone who loves his small vinyl collection, and thrilled to see the format thriving in the current musical landscape. Yes, prices have gotten higher (I have sticker shock when seeing $40 for an LP) there's never been a better time to start exploring this fantastic realm of music.