Vinyl LPs making a strong comeback

Picture: iSTOCK -
Picture: iSTOCK –

VINYL is killing the free online music industry, and there is more to it than just turntable nostalgia.

New figures released by the Record Industry Association of America have shown that vinyl sales in the US for the first half of this year were worth more than Spotify Free, YouTube and video hosting service Vevo combined.

The granddaddy of sound storage systems has made a dramatic comeback, with US sales up 52% this year.

Once considered obsolete, vinyl is not only seeing a revival in the US, but LPs have become popular in South Africa too.

Record sellers said they had seen a growing popularity in vinyl since 2012.

“There is both an increase in new and second-hand LPs”, Roast Records owner Wentzel van der Gryp said.

Record labels

generally stopped making LPs in the early 1990s with the arrival of the CD.

But now, Van der Gryp said, LP demand was strong enough for mainstream record stores to sell turntables alongside iPods and CD players. Many artists, he added, were now also releasing their albums on vinyl.

In America more and more vinyl pressing plants are opening, although in South Africa, new LPs are having to be imported.

The appeal of vinyl, Nik Kopfer of the online vinyl cafe said, was that vinyl listeners felt that the analog sound quality was better than digital, and there was a whole tactile component to it too.

He said in an age of internet streaming and music files, vinyl offered something that listeners could still hold.

It was not only vinyl that was making a comeback, Van der Gryp said.

Tape cassettes were becoming popular too.

-Shaun Smillie

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