2014: bad for digital music sales, great for vinyl. Like, really great. According to Nielsen SoundScan, vinyl sales hit 9.2 million, a 52 percent jump from 2013 figures, and an all-time high for vinyl on SoundScan, which began tracking sales in 1991. Damn.
No hipster jokes to be had here; this is good news for an industry where sales have suffered as a result of an increasing number of streaming options like Spotify and Rdio. This year, paid downloads dropped by nine percent for albums and 12 percent for songs. Song sales dropped from 1.26 billion in 2013 to 1.1 billion last year. Makes sense! Why pay a dollar for one song one time, when you can pay 10 dollars a month and stream unlimited songs unlimited times?
But there is hope yet in vinyl. Not only for its boost to the music industry, but also because it's increasingly the most worthwhile way to own music. You almost never want to buy CDs, and no one's buying CDs anyway, but that experience of going to a record store and picking up something real and tangible that you can hold and keep has not lost its value. And this trend isn't just a flash in the pan. Vinyl sales were at a paltry million in 2007; they're now nine times that. In other words, your parents have been onto something for a very long time. Vinyl is here to stay. [WSJ]
Lead image: Jan T. Sott, used with permission