In a world where you can access anything you want in the matter of seconds, you wouldn’t think physical formats of music would be doing too great … but you’d be wrong. Vinyl records are outselling CDs in the USA for the first time since 1987.
It’s undeniable that vinyl is witnessing a huge resurgence in popularity worldwide, with the format becoming a trendy way to show appreciation towards recorded music. However, retailers and industry experts believe there is more to the resurgence than just popularity.
Frog Harris is the owner of Songland Records in Weston Creek and has been involved in the music industry since 1980. Over the decades, he has witnessed firsthand the popularity of music mediums fluctuate.
Mr Harris says that the emergence of online streaming services has completely changed the economic dynamic for selling physical music.
“You get these reports in the media about the resurgence in vinyl and the decline of CDs, and all of those figures are totally misleading”.Frog Harris, Owner of Songland Records
While it’s certainly an attention-grabbing headline that vinyl records are outselling CDs, it’s slightly more complicated than that.
“If you don’t make the product, you can’t sell the product and that’s why those figures are very misleading. They (record companies) are not making a lot of product on CD as what they used to. Because they’re not making it, it’s very hard to sell it”.Frog Harris, Owner of Songland Records
Despite vinyl being in the mainstream, Mr Harris knows there will always be consumer demand for all mediums, which helps keep stores like Songland Records alive.
Jack Le Fevre is a vinyl record collector, and through collecting vinyl, he has developed a deeper appreciation for recorded music. He recently spent time in Japan, where he made it his mission to bring home his favourite Japanese records.
For Jack, he says collecting vinyl evokes the same feeling of collecting cards as a teenager.
“Back when I was younger, in my teens I collected a lot of Pokémon and then that phased out, but that kind of obsession in me transferred into records. You know, it’s like Pokémon cards but for music. Gotta collect ‘em all!”.Jack Le Fevre, Vinyl Record Collector
As a music fan, he makes use of both analogue and digital formats, treating the former as a ritual of stopping to relax and pay close attention to the music.
While the popularity of music mediums, both physical and digital, will fluctuate with time and trends, the real winners are music enthusiasts of new and old.
With people’s attention turning back to physical music, there’s never been a better time to get into the hobby as vinyl records sales are projected to rise. Both listening to and building a collection takes time and effort, but through careful deliberation, music fans are showing just how important recorded music is to our sociological wellbeing.