Are records coming back in style? Music, fans that grew up before the mid to late 80s are all too familiar with the vinyl record. For those of you that grew up after that, you may not realize that playing music at home on records was pretty much the only way we had to listen to our favourite tunes.
The vinyl record has been around since 1877 but took a serious nosedive once the CD was created in 1982 and became the new way to listen to music. Once, that happened the record pretty much became quite obsolete. People found other more convenient way to listen to music.
Like many things that were once popular, things often comeback in style years or decades later. This seems to completely apply to the record as a way of listening to music.
Once records seemed to go by the way of the graveyard in the late 80s most people purchased a CD player as a replacement for the record player. The CD craze lasted for about 2 decades until digital music took off around 2007. Since then, that has been the main source of music for people listen to their tunes.
That was until 2019, when we started to see the comeback of the record. Did you know that by mid-2019 the record industry saw sales of $224 million which was 8.6 million units?
YUP that much!
In comparison, the CD had sales of $247 million accounting for 18 million units.
NO, the record didn’t surpass the sale of CD’s, but the gap between the two is dramatically shrinking. That was until 2020!!
****Graph is published from statista.com
In 2020 record sales are predicted to pass the sale of CD’s for the very first time. Now many people will say that the popularity of CD’s has been dissipating anyway. But that isn’t really the point. The most important factor is that prior to 2019 record sales were less then stellar, and that they have dramatically risen over the past 2 years.
What all this tells us is that YES records are making a huge comeback in the music industry.
Who’s buying records?
Now that we know that records are coming back, I wanted to find out who is responsible for this huge resurgence?
There are many fascinating things that I have realized about who is buying records now. The biggest thing that I found out about records was that the increase in sales is not due to the older generation of boomers rekindling their love of the LP. NOPE!
In reality the trends show that it is millennials that are the driving force behind the latest record sales, not the boomers. YES, the millennials!!
The younger generation has fallen in love with the record. This new generation is experiencing records for the first time in their lives. They didn’t grow up with the record like I did. No, they grew up with CD’s or digital music. So, this new way of listening to music has them captivated. As, we know the sound of a record is unlike any music that they have ever heard before.
Along with millennials there is also data that shows that boomers or people growing up in the 70s and 80s are also rediscovering their record roots. The popularity of records is once again a topic of conversation.
Together the young and the older generation are both contributing to the reincarnation of listening to records.
Why people love records
I have established that records are definitely on the comeback but along with the sales data, I wanted to dive into the reason why people are going back to records.
What is it that has them hooked?
If you are like me and grew up with the record, then the answer may seem much easier to explain. As we know, the sound that comes from a record is an analog sound. All new music is done digitally
Records produce a truer sound, because digital music is not capturing the complete sound wave of the music. Digital music at its essence is a series of steps that allow for quick transitions within instruments, that can be distorted by the speed of the transition.
You then put the CD into your machine and it converts it from digital to an analog single that is then sent to your amp. The amp then does its part by amplifying the sound to make it loud enough to hear.
Analog music like records don’t do this. The grooves in a record is actually a mirror image of the original sound wave. What all this tells us is that a record presents a more original sound to the music. For real music lovers, the sound that a record makes is undeniably better sounding.
Some other fun things I have discovered about why people love records goes back to the idea of owning your music. There is just something about buying an LP, opening up the sleeve and pulling out the record with the insert. Physically holding the record just gives a much closer connection to the actual music. We also can’t forget, that the sleeve of the record often had the lyrics of every single song on the album. Along with great pics of the band or artist the sleeve itself is almost considered a piece of art. Just holding it in your hand, makes you feel like you are part of the music.
Owning a record collection has always been like a badge of honor. Someone that had a huge record collection in the day could show it off to their friends. What a great way to show off your love of music.
This way of owning and displaying your music, is back. Now more than ever people are sitting at home with their friends and family showing off their latest album purchase.
Social media as we know plays a huge part in our lives now. With this in mind, it has never been easier to show off your collection to the whole world, not just your closest family or friends. A quick pic on social media and everyone can see it. Sharing your music collection is always a great way to start a conversation and find like-minded music lovers.
The other reason that people seem to be gravitating to records, is the romantic element that records bring. That feeling of grabbing a glass of wine and sitting down to listen to an entire album. What a special feeling!
Digital music has always been more about a song here and song there. The record to me is the classic way of listening to music in its entirety. When you listen to an entire album or side of a record, you get the full sound and intend of the artist.
A TRUE REAL SOUND!
You literally feel like you are taken on a musical journey. Almost like having a drink with the artist if you will. LOL! Certainly, a much more intimate connection to the music.
Are they here to stay?
Nobody has a crystal ball and can definitively say that records are here to stay, but what I think is that people seem to be falling in love with them right now. Maybe some of it has to do with 2020 and COVID-19 19 or maybe it doesn’t.
People have certainly been home a lot more this year and while at home people seem to be finding their true passions again. For many people that passion is music.
Every generation thinks that the way they listen to music is the best, but in reality, people more then ever seem to be stepping back to records simply because they have more time and want to take a step back in their life. Slow things down a bit. Listening to records is a great way to do that.
Are record coming back? Yes, I would say they are right now. Who knows what the next few years will bring, but for me, I think they are here to stay?
No, they will not be the main source of music, as digital is certainly easier and more convenient. But the reality is that true music lovers like me will always have a record player in their home. There is just something so special about hearing that crackle at the beginning as the needle drops on the record. That crisp clear sound that makes music come to life again. No other music source produces that same emotional feeling as a record.
I was smart and throughout my entire life, I have every record I have ever bought. I never got rid of them. That includes my epic stack of 45’s.
It brings me incredible joy to now be able to buy a current artist on LP. I have recently added an older Cranberries record to my collection and honestly, it just brought me such joy when I put it on the record player. I love the idea of mixing my old music with my new music. Listening to new music on the record player will make you fall in love with that album all over again. Trust me, it’s EPIC! Records truly are the best!
If you are a music lover and are looking to jump back in to the record market, know is the time! Record players have never been more popular and with the advances in technology, you can even get one that is also a Bluetooth speaker.
Whether you want a record player in a box as an all in one, or a record player to add to your existing stereo, they are here and they are back! Get back to that record sound now!
I hope that you have enjoyed reading my post and I would love to hear your experience with records in your life. Drop me a comment below.