For The Record: Is Vinyl Back To Stay?
In the not-so-distant future, our children will be jealous beyond belief of our VHS videos and the battered cassette tapes we find in the attic.
It’s not as bizarre as it may seem. With the surprise resurrection of vinyl, and record sales rising swiftly from the horizon, the ancient relics of our parents’ teenage rebellion years are now selling for far more than they were originally worth. The quirky, counter-culture markets of Portobello Road and Spitalfields in London are now dominated by typewriters and polaroid cameras, while indie fashion trends are subtly creeping their way back into mainstream life. How have those retro devices suddenly surged in popularity in our hyper-technological and interconnected era?
‘The Guardian’ reports that sales are at an 18-year high, which make up a total of £20 million revenue for the UK music industry this year alone. You could argue that older music simply has a better quality of songwriting, and that therefore owning an album like Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ on 12-inch plastic cements you into the elite ‘die-hard fan’ club. Golden era pop-rock artists such as “The Smiths” and “The Queen”, very popular in today’s vinyl consumption, seem to have recaptured the focus of twenty-first century listeners. Also the fastest selling LP of the century, Arctic Monkeys’ ‘AM’ went down in a storm of excitement when it was first released back in 2013.
However, this isn’t some kind of audio revolution. The common streetwalkers aren’t throwing down their headphones, smashing their iPods and marching on Parliament. Far from it, since vinyl sales still account for less than 5% of the UK’s recorded music market. Perhaps it’ll be a while until a barricade made entirely of gramophones, blocks the entrance to HMV, the leading British music retailer, in protest against the non-stop consumption of digital music.