Sales Soaring - How Vital is Vinyl?

US Billie Eilish on environmental impact of $5.2b predicted sales      31/03/24

Sales Soaring - How Vital is Vinyl?

Who doesn't love the nostalgia of putting a vinyl record on, mixing records on real decks, or simply shuffling through the local charity shop for that underground techno record? All a great pleasure - apart from when you come to move house with a load - or when you consider the environmental impact, and ethos of some of the major label releases. 

MusicWeek have said that Vinyl growth is in double digits for Q1 of this year, and "Vinyl sales are up 14.5% year-on-year up to chart week seven". Decoded Magazine states that Artists predicted to make $5.2b from vinyl sales in 2024, the most since 1990 - while, at the same time Billie Eilish has been vocal about her view on the subject of bigger artists exploiting the medium:

"I find it really frustrating as somebody who goes out of my way to be sustainable and do the best that I can and try to involve everybody in my team in being sustainable – and then it's some of the biggest artists in the world making 40 different vinyl packages that have a different unique thing just to get you to keep buying more."

The Rolling Stones released at least 43 variants of their 2023 album Hackney Diamonds with different coloured LPs and different artwork – although each version contained the same track list. Taylor Swift's forthcoming album The Tortured Poets Department will be released on four different-coloured vinyl editions, each of them containing a different bonus track to incentivise fans to buy all four.

A2D2 company which carried out the research mentioned above has this to say: 

Peter Fealey, A2D2 Founder: "Customers appreciate the direct support to artists when purchasing vinyl, as opposed to streaming music on Spotify. Vinyl provides a more sustainable and fair way to back artists, bypassing the intricate algorithms and low royalty payouts of streaming platforms".

And another excerpt from Forbes magazine explains:

Researchers at Keele University estimate vinyl records typically contain around 135g of PVC material with a carbon footprint of 0.5kg of CO2.

Based on that calculation, sales of 4.1m records would produce 1,900 tonnes of CO2, which does not take transport and packaging into account.

It's clearly a complex subject, with revenues for artists getting smaller - revenue streams of any kind are welcome, though perhaps for some of the biggest artists it seems more about profit than plays. Bear in mind that this predicted data comes from a company which "allows you to stream audio from devices such as turntables to your smart speaker". 

What are your views? 

Read the full article here:


About the author [midierror]: midierror makes nifty Max For Live devices, innovative music hardware, award winning sample packs and hosts a podcast speaking to people in the music world.

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