LPs are now outsellng CDs

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John F
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LPs are now outsellng CDs

Post by John F » Tue Nov 05, 2019 6:29 am

Believe it or not. But pay streaming services such as Spotify are the best sellers.

Gen Xers, millennials and even some Gen Zs choose vinyl & drive record sales upNovember 3, 2019 8.07am ESTMarina Eckersley

Vinyl sales have been surging in the last few years, as CD sales stay flat and digital downloads decrease. In the United Kingdom, data from 2016 reveals that vinyl LP sales revenue surpassed that of digital downloads. And in the United States, LP sales are on par with the sales of CDs.

In an era when so much music is at our fingertips through streaming services for under $10 a month, who is spending their hard-earned cash on vinyl? Streaming is currently the primary and cheapest way to buy music. According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) database, paid subscription streaming services such as Spotify dominated music sales revenue in the U.S. in 2018, accounting for almost 50 per cent of revenue. But cassettes, CDs and digital downloads have all held that position in the past.

Teens of the 1980s (now aged approximately 45 to 54) and the ‘90s (now aged approximately 35 to 44) were the two largest age demographics buying vinyl in 2018, accounting for 24 and 21 per cent respectively of new vinyl sales in the U.S., according to 2018 data from the RIAA.

Vinyl’s lasting influence

Sales data shows that cassettes first surpassed vinyl LP sales in the U.S. in 1983. Then CDs surpassed cassette sales in 1991. At that point, vinyl LPs disappeared from most music stores, remaining only a DJ specialty. They accounted for only 0.8 per cent of total music sales.

Tim Ford, vice-president of purchasing at Sunrise Records, says he recalls feeling forced to buy CDs in the '90s because they were cheaper than vinyl and more widely available for him as a broke teenager. Now, Ford and many other '80s and '90s kids are working adults with disposable incomes. Ford says 35-to-40-year-olds want music from their generation like their parents had.

These consumers are used to the concept of owning music, but now they want vinyl, because they think it’s better quality, and they have the money for it.

Michael Greaves is another example of this type of vinyl consumer; he was a DJ in the '90s and has a collection of 1,200 CDs — many of which he bought eight for a penny. Now he works full-time as a music administrator and is an avid vinyl collector.

Greaves says he buys vinyl because “with vinyl you get a warmth you don’t get with CDs.” There’s just something about the crackle of a vinyl record that makes people feel at home.

Owning a physical copy

No artist is forced to put his or her music on streaming services and not every artist even has the legal right to do so. The popular albums of the ‘80s and ‘90s that aren’t being widely reissued are going for hundreds of dollars on resale sites.

A mint-condition vinyl LP of De La Soul’s 1989 album 3 Feet High and Rising, for instance, is selling for more than $360 on Discogs. That album isn’t being widely reissued and is now unavailable on paid subscription streaming services such as Tidal, which is said to be because of artist and label disputes.

The initial excitement about streaming services seems to have worn off since Spotify launched in Sweden in 2008. Consumers are now seeing flaws in streaming, one of them being that we can never be fully assured of access to their favourite songs without owning a physical copy of them.

Andrew Winistorfer, editorial director at Vinyl Me, Please, a record-of-the-month club, says that young people today accept that you don’t own music. CD sales were at their height at the same time that music piracy became popular and almost destroyed the music industry.

However, the young today still account for part of the new surge in vinyl sales. Winistorfer explains that vinyl is “the cooler way to have … a physical manifestation of this music that you like.”

Willing to pay

RIAA data shows that 25-to-34-year-olds and 18-to-24-year-olds accounted for 19 and 16 per cent respectively of U.S. new vinyl sales in 2018. This is valuable to artists who are not being paid what they’d like to be on streaming services. For artists, selling other merchandise has become increasingly important.

Luckily for them, some fans are willing to pay for exclusive merchandise and experiences on crowdfunding platforms. A 2013 Indiegogo campaign for the Canadian band Protest The Hero raised nearly $450,000 to fund an album and 1,299 copies of the signed, limited-edition vinyl LP were claimed as rewards.

Katy Perry has a vinyl record coming out soon. It’s a record-first release but her truest “Katy Cats” will surely snatch up those 4,000 copies quickly to be able to hold a piece of their favourite artist in their hands.

Consumers have less control than they might think over what music they can access. What will happen if one day your favourite artist doesn’t have the resources, desire or legal right to keep your favourite songs up on a streaming service? What if you simply want to hold the music you love in your hands? Teens of the 80s and 90s would probably tell you to buy the album — on vinyl.

https://theconversation.com/gen-xers-mi ... -up-125541
John Francis

maestrob
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Re: LPs are now outsellng CDs

Post by maestrob » Tue Nov 05, 2019 11:19 am

Who would have thought? Are we a retrograde society or what? :mrgreen:

I agree that LPs were the ideal format for reading about the music contained therein, but I was never comfortable with Snap, Crackle and Pop as part of my musical experience. That young people are willing to compromise their listening experience to such a degree is alarming to my ears. I treasure the CD experience of potentially flawless sound, uninterrupted by side breaks for Beethoven IX, or a Bruckner symphony. I wonder what sales figures are like for classical LPs, though this is not the scope of the article.

My bet is that, off the top of my head, classical music lovers will stick to CDs in the long run. I know I will. The hype about a fantasy "warmer sound" doesn't cut it for me.

John F
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Re: LPs are now outsellng CDs

Post by John F » Tue Nov 05, 2019 3:03 pm

As usual, the article is entirely about non-classical recordings, which is where the money is. My guess would be that streaming services such as Spotify and YouTube get far more play in the classical repertoire than CDs, which in turn are likely to top LPs.
John Francis

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Re: LPs are now outsellng CDs

Post by maestrob » Wed Nov 06, 2019 11:36 am

John F wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 3:03 pm
As usual, the article is entirely about non-classical recordings, which is where the money is. My guess would be that streaming services such as Spotify and YouTube get far more play in the classical repertoire than CDs, which in turn are likely to top LPs.
Your guess may be right, but it's not true in my household, nor, I wager, in Lance's. Those of us audiophiles who revel in great sound from modern recordings tend to shy away from the constricted sound of streaming services, even Music Choice channels on cable, let alone the limited selection available. If CDs magically disappeared, I would greatly miss not only their wonderful clarity and depth, but the ability to choose the repertoire of my daily listening. Not to mention dealing with the annoying ads on youtube, which have gotten so out of hand, without an ad blocker.

That said, I think it's a positive that we all have the many choices we have to experience music in all its formats.

Belle
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Re: LPs are now outsellng CDs

Post by Belle » Wed Nov 06, 2019 12:23 pm

maestrob wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 11:19 am
Who would have thought? Are we a retrograde society or what? :mrgreen:

I agree that LPs were the ideal format for reading about the music contained therein, but I was never comfortable with Snap, Crackle and Pop as part of my musical experience. That young people are willing to compromise their listening experience to such a degree is alarming to my ears. I treasure the CD experience of potentially flawless sound, uninterrupted by side breaks for Beethoven IX, or a Bruckner symphony. I wonder what sales figures are like for classical LPs, though this is not the scope of the article.

My bet is that, off the top of my head, classical music lovers will stick to CDs in the long run. I know I will. The hype about a fantasy "warmer sound" doesn't cut it for me.
The "Rice Bubble" LP experience is definitely one I wouldn't want to have back!! There have been some tremendous recordings on CD in terms of sound quality and you can sometimes feel as though you're there in the concert hall. I never had this experience with the LP. The ultimate irony is that contiguous with increasingly good recording technology there has been a similar decline in my own hearing!! I'm not really able to get the benefit of it - but I don't want Tinnitus combined with frying eggs, as one gets on the LP.

Perhaps Jazz enthusiasts prefer the LP; I suspect many of them are idiosyncratic types who like the format the way it was - back then!!

Sydney's last fine music outlet is closing in December!

https://fishfinemusic.com.au/
"Defund the Thought Police" (Dr. Eric Weinstein, 2021).

Lance
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Re: LPs are now outsellng CDs

Post by Lance » Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:12 pm

There is NO question: I will be sticking with CDs for music listening and broadcasting. I, too, never appreciated the snap, crackle and pop of LPs, even from among those labels considered to be the best quality, such as Philips, DGG and Decca for a long time. On the other hand, with an LP collection numbering 70,000+, collected since I was 16 or 17 years of age, I rarely play them anymore unless I do not have an CD counterpart. It has been years since I have made purchase of an LP, and then, it was only rare recordings (now) of the bass-baritone Owen Brannigan, who has not seen much reissuing on CD. CD sound seems to have improved dramatically, even in transfers of 78rpm discs, since CDs were first introduced. And I don't necessarily "buy" the thought that CDs are "warmer" in sound in the A-B comparisons I have made. As we move down the road, I think CD sales will still be strong for classical music but, perhaps, not so strong for pop, rock, country, etc. It is unfortunate, however, that I see former classical music CDs can only be downloaded in many cases, which I will not do. Hence, buy the CDs when they are first issued so you don't have to face that.
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barney
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Re: LPs are now outsellng CDs

Post by barney » Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:39 pm

Wow, Lance, 70,000 LPs. I have about 1100, and I put them all on Ebay as a collection earlier this year for $1000 Australian (about $690 US). Not one nibble. A request for the catalogue of them from a US dealer, but I wasn't willing to let him cherry pick.
My turntable is covered in 100 or so CDs, when my daughter "tidied up" for a function she held at our house. It hasn't been used in three or four years. I am with the CD fans here.
I wanted to sell the LPs so I could use the storage space for the piles of CDs on tables, my desk, the floor etc.
And just home from NZ to find the new Philips Beethoven 2020 set has arrived! Complete works, with many duplicated in historic recordings :D I'll post about that later. But the Bach 333 was the best set I ever got, alongside the Philips Great Pianists, so my expectations are stratospheric.

absinthe
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Re: LPs are now outsellng CDs

Post by absinthe » Tue Nov 12, 2019 3:32 am

A couple of years ago I decided to revert to vinyl when I can. Having to buy "used" is always a risk but with the music I listen to the discs are usually in very good condition. Problems with crackle and pop can near enough be avoided with careful handling.
.
I find the ritual of "playing a record" more satisfying and I'm more likely to sit back as if at a private concert, rather than slap some music on and it plays in the background, which I do with CDs.
.
The most recent one I bought was Barber's Knoxville Summer 1915 with Leontyne Price. I re-bought it as with the event of CD I gave too many LPs away.
.

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Re: LPs are now outsellng CDs

Post by Wallingford » Sun Jan 17, 2021 6:29 pm

I really don’t care what you all say; 8 months ago I decided to get me a new, high-fidelity turntable to replace the groove-grinder I had the last decade…..a welcome addition, with the new receiver and used equalizer I bought two years back.

It’s good old, reliable Audio-Technica, model ALP 120X-USB…..a very popular turntable, with a worthy stylus that’s hi-fi grade. So far I’ve spent a good 75 hours listening to it, and particularly these days…..I’ve been really primed for lots of serious listening. Primarily classical, of course.

A real vinyl renaissance, I must say. Used, mind you, not unopened...the prices on unopened albums are frightening.
Last edited by Wallingford on Mon Jan 18, 2021 3:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Good music is that which falls upon the ear with ease, and quits the memory with difficulty.
--Sir Thomas Beecham

Lance
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Re: LPs are now outsellng CDs

Post by Lance » Sun Jan 17, 2021 10:07 pm

When this thread started in March 2007, I was in favour of CDs and STILL am! I have some good turntables (Thorens, Audio Technica) but haven't put on an LP in quite some time. I do see a trend that some newly recorded music is only available via download with no issued CD being made available. No matter, however, if one enjoys the LP, CD or even cassettes, and you get to hear the music you want, we are all happier. Inasmuch as most of the major companies in the takeovers or melding of catalogues, many huge boxed sets have been issued at generally reasonable prices. That was the time to acquire those sets if it was at all possible financially. Now we see those sets going off the wall at record high prices.

I would like to find a buyer for my entire LP collection, but no cherry-picking. It is 99.9% classical and there are still some gems that have never been transferred to CD, so I would "cherry-pick" just for myself! :P And the LP collection is in pristine condition. If one only received $10/USD for each LP, that would still be a substantial return, but overall, a loss for what went into it for years and years until at least 1985. Now, of course, at this age, it seems to be coming a burden. In my demise, I have told the Mrs. to order some dumpsters and get rid of everything. What do you think of that???
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
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mikealdren
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Re: LPs are now outsellng CDs

Post by mikealdren » Mon Jan 18, 2021 4:07 am

Lance wrote:
Sun Jan 17, 2021 10:07 pm
In my demise, I have told the Mrs. to order some dumpsters and get rid of everything. What do you think of that???
I don't think this is the answer, here are a few reasons:
1. It's not a green solution, as a minimum the plastic should be re-cycled but really the LPs and CDs should go to a new home and not be re-cycled at all.
2. You actually have a lot of content that is rare and should not be destroyed.
3. Your collection is valuable and your family should benefit from the sale.
4. There's probably someone on here who could manage a sale for your family.

Hopefully this is a problem for the distant future, the problem isn't the CDs, it's how we would manage without you!

barney
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Re: LPs are now outsellng CDs

Post by barney » Mon Jan 18, 2021 7:24 am

Last year I put my classical CDs on ebay. I think I wanted $1 an LP, for about 1000. Not one tickle. A US LP shop wanted to see the list, but made no offer as I was unwilling to split. Before I withdrew the ad I offered to throw in my turntable (selling new at $1200 in Melbourne). Nothing.

maestrob
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Re: LPs are now outsellng CDs

Post by maestrob » Mon Jan 18, 2021 8:43 am

barney wrote:
Mon Jan 18, 2021 7:24 am
Last year I put my classical CDs on ebay. I think I wanted $1 an LP, for about 1000. Not one tickle. A US LP shop wanted to see the list, but made no offer as I was unwilling to split. Before I withdrew the ad I offered to throw in my turntable (selling new at $1200 in Melbourne). Nothing.
I may have posted about this elsewhere, but about two years ago BC (Before Corona) I ended up donating most of my LPs that were not collectors' items to a man who was selling LPs on the street. He had been homeless for a while with serious health problems, so I wanted to help. He was then living in a hotel on 23rd Street (about 10 blocks away from where I live), so he would come and pick them up and load them onto a handtruck and cart them away, taking many trips to do so.

Interestingly, when the city decided to renovate the hotel where he was living, it was revealed that many famous pop musicians had lived there back in the 1960's and '70's, including Janis Joplin and Bob Dylan, among others, forming a legendary pop music community right in my neighborhood in the decade before I moved here. So, this entrepreneur came up with the idea of auctioning off the doors to the residences of each famous musician, since he knew the history of each. Well, surprise! He made a profit of about $400,000! Half of it was donated to a food bank that had fed him when he was living on the street, the rest he kept for himself. Known as "The Record Man" in our neighborhood, he was finally able to live with some security. I have no idea what's happened to him since the lockdown began, but must inquire.

At any rate, I've held onto about 600-700 LPs for sentimental reasons, but eventually I imagine that I'll need the shelf space as my CD collection continues to grow.

That said, while I still find CD sound superior to that of LPs, I can relate to the nostalgia of the format, including being able to read the liner notes and booklets!
😉

Since this thread was first opened, I've subscribed to amazon's HD Music streaming service which is offered with Prime for a few bucks/mo. extra, and find their sound quality quite acceptable now, except for the interruptions of track changes in continuous music, like operas. Far from cutting back my CD purchases, though, this has only made me buy more! :roll:

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Re: LPs are now outsellng CDs

Post by Wallingford » Mon Jan 18, 2021 3:45 pm

barney wrote:
Mon Jan 18, 2021 7:24 am
That said, while I still find CD sound superior to that of LPs, I can relate to the nostalgia of the format, including being able to read the liner notes and booklets!
And don't forget--nothing compares to admiring the jacket art/photography on a full-sized 12" sleeve!
Good music is that which falls upon the ear with ease, and quits the memory with difficulty.
--Sir Thomas Beecham

Lance
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Re: LPs are now outsellng CDs

Post by Lance » Mon Jan 18, 2021 4:42 pm

Hmm. Well thank you for your formula. There is certainly some merit to it. While nobody knows how long they are going to be around, to leave such a so-called "mess" (albeit a great mess!) for someone else to clean up is also somewhat disturbing. Inasmuch as so much of the great historical recordings have been digitized and released on CD or downloads (the latter of which I do not participate), there is still much that has not been available. So, we all still await the surprises. While the idea of not destroying vinyl by recycling and offering the LPs to someone or place that might appreciate them, many places (respite homes, etc.) do not have LP playing equipment, and I've discovered the preponderance of people do not really know HOW to handle LPs properly. And I fully agree, there is much nostalgia in picking up an LP and being able to read the notes and see the full-sized covers. While I truly miss going to NYC, Boston, Atlanta or elsewhere to go shopping for recordings like I used to, I can honestly say that just about anything I really wanted can be found on the Internet and in the convenience of one's own dwelling. There are probably less than a dozen that I still seek but unable to locate. And then, the prices are often prohibitive. In the end, I am supremely appreciative of what I have amassed in the past decades. There is an old saying: "One cannot have everything!" and to that statement I ascribe!
mikealdren wrote:
Mon Jan 18, 2021 4:07 am
Lance wrote:
Sun Jan 17, 2021 10:07 pm
In my demise, I have told the Mrs. to order some dumpsters and get rid of everything. What do you think of that???
I don't think this is the answer, here are a few reasons:
1. It's not a green solution, as a minimum the plastic should be re-cycled but really the LPs and CDs should go to a new home and not be re-cycled at all.
2. You actually have a lot of content that is rare and should not be destroyed.
3. Your collection is valuable and your family should benefit from the sale.
4. There's probably someone on here who could manage a sale for your family.

Hopefully this is a problem for the distant future, the problem isn't the CDs, it's how we would manage without you!
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Modernistfan
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Re: LPs are now outsellng CDs

Post by Modernistfan » Mon Jan 18, 2021 5:10 pm

I have no intention of going back to LPs. I do not miss the surface noise, the ticks, and pops, and other problems. About the only thing that would get me back to LPs is getting some of the Decca Headline series or the Deutsche Grammophon Avant-Garde series that have not been reissued on CD or including works that have not been re-recorded in more modern recordings on CD. The hype regarding LPs, that the sound is "warmer" or "more natural," is just hype. Many people do not realize that, for many LPs made during the period that they dominated recorded music, the highs were rolled off; in many concert halls, such as the Music Shed at Tanglewood, my impression was that the highs were much more prominent than on most LP recordings I had in the old days. It doesn't help that LPs are substantially more expensive than CDs, particularly when a recording that will fit on one CD requires two LPs. Moreover, what most people who buy recently issued LPs of newly recorded works do not realize is that the LPs themselves were made from digital masters, in most cases.

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Re: LPs are now outsellng CDs

Post by Lance » Mon Jan 18, 2021 5:20 pm

I very much sense your attraction to more contemporary music. As a collector yourself, how does it ... what should I say ... offend you that these contemporary works you know so well do not see the light of day in digital remastering? What do you think the reason is for not reissuing this repertoire?Is it from lack of interest by the public and thus not profitable for the companies that hold the original recordings? I feel very much the same way about certain artists, such as Serge Koussevitzky, which, predominantly, RCA/Sony could reissue to include all the 78s and those recorded on tape as late as 1951. They've done this for Furtwangler, Beecham, Toscanini, and others. While Furtwangler, Beecham and Toscanini have more-or-less been pushed down people's throats, Koussevitzky is far less known today by the younger set. Always appreciate your posts ... well thought out!
Modernistfan wrote:
Mon Jan 18, 2021 5:10 pm
I have no intention of going back to LPs. I do not miss the surface noise, the ticks, and pops, and other problems. About the only thing that would get me back to LPs is getting some of the Decca Headline series or the Deutsche Grammophon Avant-Garde series that have not been reissued on CD or including works that have not been re-recorded in more modern recordings on CD. The hype regarding LPs, that the sound is "warmer" or "more natural," is just hype. Many people do not realize that, for many LPs made during the period that they dominated recorded music, the highs were rolled off; in many concert halls, such as the Music Shed at Tanglewood, my impression was that the highs were much more prominent than on most LP recordings I had in the old days. It doesn't help that LPs are substantially more expensive than CDs, particularly when a recording that will fit on one CD requires two LPs. Moreover, what most people who buy recently issued LPs of newly recorded works do not realize is that the LPs themselves were made from digital masters, in most cases.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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barney
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Re: LPs are now outsellng CDs

Post by barney » Mon Jan 18, 2021 7:38 pm

Brian, that is a lovely story about the homeless LP vendor, and his eventual triumph. Really enjoyed that.
Alas, the outer fringe of Melbourne is nothing like as cultured as New York, and I doubt I could even give them away as you did.

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