Listeners are turning against poor quality digital music in droves. A marketing event called Record Store Day has reached its tenth year, and labels are feeding the frenzy, even releasing 350 special vinyl pressings on that day. Shaun Tandon reports both older and younger buyers are tapping into vinyl.
The 10th annual event takes place Saturday at thousands of stores around the world — due to the deliberately loose structure, Kurtz does not have an exact figure — with some 350 special vinyl pressings in the US market released on the day.
Since the first Record Store Day, vinyl has soared to levels not seen since the 1980s. It has been a rare source of growth in the long-beleaguered music industry alongside — although at a much smaller scale than — streaming.
Vinyl revenue will top $1 billion this year while sales of CDs and digital downloads tumble, the analytical firm Deloitte estimates.
In Britain, where vinyl’s rebirth has been particularly pronounced, records generated more revenue than advertising-backed tiers of streaming platforms last year.
– Owning a format –
Vinyl enthusiasts such as Elton John, who has done promotions for Record Store Day, insist the medium offers a superior listening experience. But there are also broader cultural forces at play.
“It was a perfect storm,” said Kurtz, 59, sipping coffee near his home in Harlem as he wore a T-shirt of punk icon Iggy Pop — among the musicians with special Record Store Day releases.
“For the older music fan, people in my age group, it was a romantic thing that you can go back and buy all your favorite records again and buy special versions of those albums,” he said.
“On the younger side of things, it enabled a whole new generation to own it. I think it was a response to digital in a way.”
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