Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Groove is in the heart

Not so very long ago it would have seemed utterly improbable and preposterous - no, not Brexit or a Trump presidency, but vinyl sales outstripping those of digital formats. And yet that's what was reported yesterday, with last week's figures at £2.4 million and £2.1 million respectively.

The causes of this remarkable boom in a format that at one time came desperately close to dying out are multiple (including their physicality and collectibility), and what is abundantly clear - as the Guardian's Hannah Ellis-Petersen notes - is that the phenomenon is far too significant to be attributed merely to "audiophile dads and nostalgic hipsters". On the contrary, the appeal of vinyl appears to have been recognised by younger music fans.

While vinyl can now be purchased in a wide variety of places, including supermarkets, its revival gives encouragement to those of us who believe there still is (and indeed should be) a place for specialist record shops.

Understandably, Ellis-Petersen's article considers the resurgent popularity of vinyl to be the headline news - but it's worth considering the flip side, which is an apparent collapse in sales of digital formats. It would be interesting to know if there's further evidence of this - and, if so, what factors might be behind the apparently dramatic seachange.

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