Back in the groove
The Business Online.com / 14 may 2006
Technology Editor Tony Glover reports how in the iPod age the record industry is going forward by returning to the days of vinyl
BESET by digital piracy and increasing customer reluctance to pay for CDs, the music industry is fighting back with its latest technology – black vinyl records.
Music labels and high street retailers are busy turning back the industry’s clock to a time not only before internet song downloads, but also before CDs or even audio cassettes. The irony is that the vinyl revolution is being led by teenage consumers who are prepared to stand in line for the latest 45 rpm single or 331/3rpm LP (long-playing record) in much the same way that their parents, or in some cases their grandparents, did.
According to Rob Campkin, the head of Music at Virgin Megastores, vinyl is now outselling CDs when it comes to the latest records.
“Up to 70% of sales of new releases are vinyl. The fans of popular new rock bands like Arctic Monkeys and The Raconteurs prefer vinyl to CD,” said Campkin. “When the Raconteurs’ latest single was released, 80% of high-street sales were for seven-inch vinyl and only 20% were for CDs.”
“We are not just talking about vinyl singles but also about albums – the format is just continuing to grow,” said HMV spokesman Gennaro Castaldo.
The trend is born out by figures from record industry body, the British Phonographic Industry (BPI). According to the BPI’s findings, vinyl records are a technology that has come back from the brink of extinction to take the industry by storm. Between 2001 and 2005, annual sales of vinyl single in the UK rose sixfold to over 1m, accounting for 14.7% of all physical singles sales in 2005, up from 12.2% in 2004. The industry expects vinyl figures for the current year to be even more dramatic.
The vinyl revolution has caught many of the big music labels napping. It is the smaller independent labels who have been able to snap up successful new bands. This has left big players in the industry, such as EMI, scratching their heads and wondering why teenagers are embracing a technology the music industry had dismissed as outdated and obsolete before most of them were born. [ continue –> ]