In the age of digital music, vinyl is making a comeback.
Now more than ever, music is readily available through apps like Spotify, Tidal, Apple and Amazon music, yet vinyl is seeing a wave of demand from generations born in the digital age.
46.4 Million Americans have bought music subscriptions from streaming apps in the first half of this year alone.
Though it is a high number, vinyl sales skyrocketed to $416 million just 3 years ago; equal to 12 million records sold. According to the RIAA (Record Industry Association of America), the last time sales were that high was back in 1988.
While 70% of the music industry is brought in by digital music, vinyl sales are high from all sorts of genres and diverse in eras of music, from modern to old.
Adele held the record for most vinyl sales back in 2015, selling 116 thousand units according to Billboard, but among her competitors, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, to Arctic Monkeys and even the Guardians of the Galaxy Soundtrack sold over 40,000 units each.
These top-selling records are proof of how diverse the vinyl market ranges from eras to different music genres.
For music fans like Alexis Castillo, these facts were not surprising.
“I find that younger people are discovering new ways of listening to music; they want to find something hip or trendy,” Castillo said.
With records having a wide selection of unique attributes like limited editions, re-presses of older vinyl and colorful vinyl, Alex finds records to be more than just unique.
“Records allow me to be more personalized or intimate with the artist. I like looking at the different kinds of artwork in a vinyl and how you can immerse yourself into a full experience,” Castillo continues, “I don’t just listen to music, I experience it.”
However, the question remains if vinyl will continue to be on demand.
“I think vinyl is here to stay. I don’t see it plummeting down anytime soon,” Castillo adds, “every year artists are coming up with new ways to experience vinyl or reasons to go out and collect it, which makes it attractive to the average music lover.”
Though digital music is convenient and simpler to manage, the appeal of vinyl is what continues to draw people in.
Record Store Day first took place on April 19, 2008, a day in which independent record stores worldwide celebrate vinyl in a unique way. Many artists make new artwork for their albums, limited edition runs of their records, and hold record day exclusive vinyl to be released in one day.
With lines that wrap around record shops, collectors wait on this day to secure their limited edition records to add to their collection. It is a day where music fans can come together to celebrate their favorite artists and albums.
Not only is Record Store Day for fans, but it has been declared as a way artists can support local record stores and shine on the importance that they hold to both music and artist.
Artists like Jack White, Iggy Pop, Metallic and U2 are only some of the artists who are actively releasing exclusives for RSD.
The appeal of vinyl is something that some say will never go away, according to Ricardo Aguilera, a regular at Rhino Records.
“CD’s aren’t doing the whole art and lyric booklets like they used to and I think artists are taking note of that,” Aguilera adds, “from my experience I’ve see so many artist share their creative side on vinyl, everyone is doing it.”
With the rise of digital music Aguilera states, “Digital music I think will always be number one no matter what, just because of how accessible it is but vinyl is special. It’s something you can physically have, hang on your wall, feel and look at.”
Aguilera further expressed his love for vinyl.
“I hope vinyl never dies, it’s the oldest form of music that we still use today. I feel like everyone has seen or heard a record play, and for that reason I think it’s great that it’s made such a comeback”, Aguilera said.
And while digital music is at its prime, for now, vinyl is here to stay.