Vinyl sales to top $1bn for first time since the 1980s

The LP continues its remarkable resurgence 

Ben Chapman
Wednesday 11 January 2017 11:26 GMT
Vinyl sales have continued to surge as a more tangible alternative to digital streaming
Vinyl sales have continued to surge as a more tangible alternative to digital streaming (Reuters)

Annual sales of vinyl records will surpass $1bn (£820m) for the first time since the 1980s this year, according to a report published last week.

Professional services firm Deloitte predicts that sales of LPs will continue their resurgence in 2017 to register double-digit growth for the seventh consecutive year as people continue to favour the physical format.

Until a decade ago, the 12-inch record was widely considered to be in terminal decline but Deloitte now predicts it will generate 15-18 per cent of annual physical music sales.

In December, the Entertainment Retailers Association reported vinyl outsold digital downloads for the first time this century. Sales of 12-inch records jumped by more than half in 2015, hitting a 25-year high of 3.2 million.

A nostalgia for the tangibility and authenticity of vinyl, as well as the popularity of events such as Record Store Day which celebrate the individuality of independent record sellers, has fueled that explosive growth, though Deloitte said it may begin to taper this year.

Vinyl sales in the US dropped 6 per cent in the first half of 2016 and the number of people willing to spend an average of $20 (£16.45) on a record may be nearing its limit, Deloitte’s report said.

Paul Lee, Deloitte’s head of technology, media and telecoms research said that despite the ubiquity of music streaming services meaning music is more accessible than ever, “consumers are choosing to buy something tangible and nostalgic and at a price point that provides record companies with significant revenues."

Mr Lee fell short of hailing a full-scale resurgence of vinyl as a leading music format however, saying that it is unlikely to be the major source of growth for the music industry.

"Music's future, both from a revenue and consumption perspective, is all about digital, and this is where the brunt of the industry's focus should be," Mr Lee said.

Latest data from music industry trade body, British Phonographic Industry, also shows that streaming is leading the way.

In the UK, a total of 44.9bn audio streams took place in 2016, up 67.5 per cent on the previous year and a bumper 500 per cent increase on 2013. Streaming now accounts for 36.4 per cent of all music consumption.

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