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Vinyl sales back in black

Vinyl record sales are staging a resurgence, as a new generation of consumers embrace the old format with delight.

Stores are reportedly packed with under 20s digging through crates of vinyl records. That has resulted in vinyl album sales soaring more than 70% last year, and single sales up by more than 50% over the previous year, according to the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA).

ARIA chief executive Dan Rosen has told ABC News it is a big turnaround and the format is gaining momentum. “Well it’s been an interesting phenomenon that vinyl sales doubled last year, admittedly from a low base, but it went from approximately $1 million in sales to almost $2 million in sales in 12 months,” he said.

Consumers are reportedly taken with the artwork on the album covers as well as the exclusivity of limited editions, bootleg and rare vinyl. And that’s not to mention the perception that vinyl is a superior sound carrier to CDs and digital formats. While not many listeners can tell the difference between a CD, digital or vinyl, there is a widespread perception that vinyl sounds warmer and is more human according to Griffith University associate professor Ian Woodward.

The resurgence of vinyl is not only happening in Australia but the US as well, according to David Bakula, senior vice president of Nielsen’s entertainment division. He says they are in their seventh straight year of vinyl growth, and were on track for their biggest year since 1991.

Australian consumer could soon see vinyl records in their local JB Hi-Fi (ASX: JBH), Harvey Norman Holdings (ASX: HVN), Big W – owned by Woolworths (ASX: WOW) and Kmart – owned by Wesfarmers (ASX: WES) stores. It could also lead to increased sales of vinyl turntables, and other associated accessories, and spark a whole new sales category.

Foolish takeaway

Who would’ve thought it? Vinyl making a comeback. Now the baby boomers and Generation X can dig out their 60s, 70s and 80s records and pretend they’re cool again! Just leave the bell bottom jeans in the cupboard for a little while longer.

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Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King owns shares in Woolworths.

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