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Vinyl sales continue to rise, passing CDs for the first time in over 30 years

While digital streaming may still be the most popular way for listening to music, analogue technology has been making a comeback for several years.

A report from the Recording Industry Association of America shows 84 per cent of recorded music revenues in 2022 were from streaming, with physical copies at 11 per cent.

However, within physical copies data shows revenue rose four per cent from 2021, generating over $1.7 billion. The biggest change was in vinyl sales, which outsold CDs for the first time since 1987.

Revenues for vinyl grew 17 per cent, generating $1.2 billion in the U.S., according to the report. They add vinyl outsold CDs in units as well with 41 million compared to 33 million.

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It is not just in the U.S. where the stats are reflected. Kip Luce, co-owner of Bop City Records in the Comox Valley, says they have been seeing this trend for years.

While Luce says he isn’t sure of definitive numbers, there has been a change in who is buying vinyl and when.

“There’s [several] generations getting into vinyl all at the same time. It used to be kids got into vinyl when they hit a certain age,” said Luce. “But now, we’ve got three generations that are making up for lost time, so the growth is sort of exponential.”

Luce adds vinyl nearly disappeared, along with cassette tapes, in the 1990s but does not see an end in sight now.

He says part of the reason for the surge could be down to the experience.

“Some people just like having something physical in their hands,” he said. “A lot of people like that it’s analogue rather than digital. It’s a combination of the few things. It’s a lot of fun.

“It sounds great, and you’ll notice on a decent stereo system a really nice full sound.”

However, Luce adds part of the reason for the revenue could be due to manufacturing costs, as CDs tend to cost much less than vinyl and sound good.

He says local artists, however, benefit from physical copies as they can sell them on a tour and can be a good way to share the sound.

“People hear of things, and they want to check it out and physical media is a great way of checking out something that you are curious about.”

  • Files from Justin Waddell, My Comox Valley Now
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