The coronavirus pandemic may have vinyl records a little extra time to spin, years after their extinction was predicted following the advent of CDs.
The coronavirus pandemic may have vinyl records a little extra time to spin, years after their extinction was predicted following the advent of CDs.

We’re in a spin over old-school vinyl records

Vinyl has finally come full circle, with the classic music format outselling CDs for the first time since Madonna's True Blue topped the charts as lockdown pushes more kids to discover their parents' old record collections.

Vinyl sales are now worth around $22 million annually, compared to barely $2 million in 2007, according to the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA).

The old-fashioned LP made up 38 per cent of physical album revenue in 2019, up from 29 per cent in 2018.

It's a worldwide trend, with vinyl records outselling CDs in the US this year for the first time since 1986.

 

Vinyl records are making a comeback, with stores seeing an increase in sales during the pandemic. Picture: Toby Zerna
Vinyl records are making a comeback, with stores seeing an increase in sales during the pandemic. Picture: Toby Zerna

 

Stephan Gyory, who opened The Record Store in Surry Hills two weeks before lockdown in March, has ­noticed a new generation ­enjoying old school records.

"Young kids are massively getting into it. This generation has grown up on the ­internet the whole time and are finally realising it's not real," Mr Gyory said.

"There's also a lot of bonding going on with kids taking out their parents' record collection because they're bored at home."

But it's not just a COVID-trend. Reenie Condoleon, 20, who has been collecting records since she was 11, says she is enjoying the vinyl ­revival  since it makes it ­easier to get LPs to add to her 2000-strong collection, which ranges from the Beatles to Barney In the Tunnel.

 

Reenie Condoleon looks through some records at The Record Store in Surry Hills. Picture: Toby Zerna
Reenie Condoleon looks through some records at The Record Store in Surry Hills. Picture: Toby Zerna

 

"I love the feeling you get to have a physical copy of the music you buy. It's so much better to hold something rather than look at a screen," Ms Condoleon said. "And I'm a massive fan of album artwork and really appreciate the work that goes into covers and sleeves."

Mr Gyory agreed that vinyl is a more tangible experience than online music.

"You can't have a relationship with Spotify … If you're putting on Spotify you're not being intentional," he said.

"But for vinyl you're forced to get up for every record and choose something and invoke a memory and make a decision and then you attend to it which means you experience it to a greater degree."

"This is why hobby stores are seeing a huge resurgence during the pandemic. People are starting to value things that are real."

 

 

 

 

 

Mr Gyory had people buying up to 10 albums at once with the most popular choices including classic rock vinyls from the 1970s, '80s and '90s from artists like Fleetwood Mac and Pink Floyd.

But it's not just the golden oldies selling big. JB HiFi ­experienced a 60 per cent growth in vinyl sales during the pandemic with younger fans snapping up artists such as Harry Styles, Billie Eilish and Tyler, the Creator.

In the US, records acc­ounted for $232.1 million of music sales in the first six months of 2020, while CDs brought in just $129.9 million.

Originally published as We're in a spin over old-school vinyl records


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