Back to the future: the vinyl revival

Vinyl was popular from the 1950s until the early 1990s, when it was replaced by Compact Discs (CDs)–remember those? With the rise of mp3s and digital music, everyone assumed vinyls were doomed to the dustbin of history.

Yet sometime around 2007 people started listening to records again, with sales tripling by 2012 and still on the rise.

It won’t change the digital direction the music industry is moving in–records only account for 1% of industry profits. But it begs the question: why are records popular again, and who is buying them?

For one clue, check the calendar…

Happy Record Store Day 2016!

One reason for the so-called ‘vinyl revival’ is Record Store Day, celebrated today, the third Saturday in April in many countries around the globe. Conceived in 2007 as a way to support and celebrate independent music shops, thousands of people will flock to their local record store for special events and limited release vinyls from participating stores. While the day isn’t universally popular amongst many store owner–many of whom claim the day is biased towards big labels and crowds out independent act– it accounts for a huge percentage of overall record sales.

Who is buying records?

While classic albums from Pink Floyd and the Beatles are predictably popular, the best-selling albums are from new acts like Adele and Taylor Swift top the vinyl charts. Industry experts estimate that approximately half of record purchases are made by people under the age of 25, mostly men.

Explanations as to why people buy vinyl vary. Some people cite superior sound quality, while others say they prefer owning a real physical object for something they consider to be art. Some people are building on vast collections, but many young people are just starting a new one, joining a society of music lovers who relish the opportunity to browse through records for hours in rooms filled with like-minded people.

You are part of history

One way or another, you have participated in the history of music. We want to hear your stories about:

  • What was the first record you bought? Does it stand the test of time today?
  • When and how did you buy your first music?
  • What was the biggest innovation in music in your lifetime? How did this affect your music choices?
  • How did you discover music when you were a kid?
  • Did music lovers listen or buy to music in a different way to everyone else where you were from?

We want to hear from you.

Help us build a bigger, better history by sharing your experience.

Share your story!