To no hipsters surprise, vinyl sales generated more revenue last year than advertising on streaming services such as Spotify and Soundcloud.
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) recently released their 2015 report of Shipment and Revenue Statistics, which breaks down retail revenues of streaming services, physical sales, digital downloads and synth. While sales of physical media did increase, streaming services still came out on top with a 7% revenue jump from 2014 to 2015. The full report can be found here.
The RIAA’s figures revealed that vinyl sales made $416 million, while the combined total ad revenue from streaming sites Soundcloud, Spotify and YouTube accounted for only $385 million. The report also detailed that vinyl LP sales rose 32 percent last year and hit their highest total since 1988 at $416 million.
While vinyl never really went away, they’ve been gaining more popularity within the last few years. Almost every show I’ve gone to in the past year, no matter how big or small, has had vinyls for sale at their merch tables. LPs aren’t just for the old-school kids anymore. Artists like Adele, Alabama Shakes, and even the Biebs himself release their albums on vinyl now.
Vinyl is resurgent because it gives a better sound and, with modern music so disposable, it is satisfying to own an actual artifact, says Mark Burgess, who founded Flashback Records, a London record store and small music label, in 1997. “It’s also the ritual of putting the needle on the record and actively listening to the music,” he says.
–Discs, jockeying, via The Economist
Options for buying vinyls are anything but limited. Of course, there’s the beloved local record stores (yes, they still exist!). There is also every vinyl fan’s favorite day: Record Store Day, which takes place across the world. Record Store Day was first celebrated in 2008 as a way for independent record stores to spread the good word (and sound) of LPs. For people who prefer to be surprised by their next purchase, there is a monthly subscription service called Vinyl Me, Please, which sends members a LP that was pressed just for Vinyl Me, Please members, so you know you’re getting something special.
LPs do cost significantly more than a month of Spotify or Apple Music (the average vinyl costs anywhere between $20-$30 compared to $10/month of Spotify), but there’s no denying the sound and nostalgia that come along with buying vinyls is unparalleled.
So, which do you prefer: physical media or streaming services? Let me know below!