We've studied the vinyl wave in this blog on numerous occasions over the past few years. While the CD finds itself on the “endangered media list,” vinyl records and the turntables that play them are back in vogue, showing up in living rooms, dens, and media rooms among consumers of all ages.
Rolling Stone reports that data company BuzzAngle tracks a 12% jump in vinyl sales from 2017-18. While that is an impressive stat especially in this challenged environment for music sales, there was actually a 20% increase the year before.
BuzzAngle also reveals that vinyl now represents nearly 14% of all physical music sales – far from dominant, but still impressive given the medium was all but toast just a few years ago. Aside from audio cassettes (with sales only in the low hundreds of thousands), vinyl album sales approached the 10 million sales mark last year:
Rock n' roll has been the dominant genre powering vinyl's comeback, but that may be changing. Overall in 2018, more than half (54%) of vinyl sales were, in fact, Rock records – but that's down from 65% just three years ago.
Meanwhile, vinyl sales of Pop albums are solidifying (26%), while the Hip-Hop genre is showing up, too (14%). That musical diversity also points to another interesting dichotomy:
Vinyl sales tend to be catalog – or classic-based. In fact, two-thirds of vinyl album sales are considered “deep catalog.” Among the vinyl sales leaders in 2018 include “Abbey Road,” “Thriller,” “Rumours,” and Queen's “Greatest Hits I.”
How hot are vinyl and turntables as a cultural trend?
My wife loves to look at cool stuff on an architectural/art website called Design\Milk. Imagine my surprise when she showed me these custom bathroom sinks made to mimic a pair of turntables that I did not see at CES:
Designed by Gianluca Paludi for Olympia Ceramica, the ensemble features a mirror with equalizer-inspired LED lighting, a tone arm faucet, and volume knobs that control water pressure and temperature.
Inside the base/console is a storage drawer with a Bluetooth amp and a built-in speakers (note the holes on the front of the cabinet) so you can crank it up while shaving or flossing. It's hard to believe Paludi didn't spend some time working at a radio station at one point or another during his career.
It's hard not to believe many rock stars will be installing this setup in their master baths. And maybe a few DJs will be able to afford these “turntables” as well.
Just remember: no slip cueing, cue burn, or “dead air dreams” in this bathroom.
You can download the detailed, 84-page BuzzAngle report on U.S. Music Indistury Consumption in 2018 here.
Jacobs Media has consistently walked the walk in the digital space, providing insights and guidance through its well-read national Techsurveys.
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Fred was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2018.