As the mass market for music moves increasingly away from owning even an mp3 file, one niche keeps growing with it. Vinyl records are now so popular the OCC is starting a weekly Top 40 chart for the format. Charts for both albums and singles will debut next Monday ahead of Saturday’s Record Store Day.
While current sales are a long, long way from the day when the average Top Ten single was selling 25,000 units a day and a Number One frequently sat there for four weeks or more, they have been quietly building year on year. In 2013 they reached 730,000 units and this year look likely to top 1 million.
While dance DJs spinning discs are credited with keeping the format alive, in recent years it is rock that’s created the growth. Whether it’s bands like Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd that were released on vinyl originally, or newcomers like Mark Ronson and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, all have been enjoying success on 12 inch platters.
Alex Gaskarth, frontman of Baltimore pop-punk band All Time Low, midweek leaders on the official albums chart who are also on track to claim one of the biggest-selling vinyl records of the week, said: “What I love is there are different worlds of vinyl fans: there’s the audiophiles who swear by the sound of vinyl, the people who like owning it as a collector’s piece, and then groups like our fans who buy a vinyl of our record simply so they can hang it on their wall.”
One spinoff with this newfound interest in vinyl is the demand for turntables. A few years ago you would be lucky to get £20 for a topline turntable and cartridge – now they go for over £200.
What goes around comes around.