Have vinyl sales outperformed streaming in 2015?

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Music lovers will no doubt have read or at least heard the news that vinyl sales have overtaken streaming in terms of revenue this year, this is according to data released by the Recording Industry Association of America. Should vinyl collectors have cause to celebrate or is there more to these figures than meets the eye?

It was with triumph that the music press received Data analyst Joshua Friedlander’s announcement that vinyl sales have increased by a whopping 52% year on year in the first half of 2015 – equating to some $222m (£146m). Further to that, streaming revenue was up too (just not to the same extent as vinyl), which marked even more encouraging signs for the music industry in general.

The vinyl-revival has evidently shown no signs of slowing again this year, with Record Store Day sales rising from 2014 with a 3.3% increase. With the new addition of a weekly vinyl sales chart and huge retailers such as Tesco now stocking vinyl, it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise to see such incredible growth.

White Stripes' ‘Get Behind Me Satan’ was a number one seller at this year’s Record Store Day.

White Stripes’ ‘Get Behind Me Satan’ was a number one seller at this year’s Record Store Day.

Physical sales still make up two-thirds of overall revenue according to Friedlander despite CDs again suffering a significant drop (17% according to The Independent). But it’s not all doom and gloom for digital music, revenue from ad-supported free streaming services was up some 27%, which you have to say is still very impressive.

There are however some other interesting points that these figures revealed that have perhaps been overlooked. Firstly, due to its date of launch, Apple Music hasn’t been included and there’s already been some debate as to the effect this will have especially when its free-trial period ends and paid subscriptions come into force – it had over 11m trial members within five weeks of launching.

In fact these figures don’t include paid subscriptions at all, which would actually take the total streaming revenue to around $477.9 (£314.5m). Overall digital music sales (iTunes, etc…) in the US reached a staggering $2.3bn.

So while any notion of vinyl ‘taking over’ may be slightly exuberant, the figures are still very exciting. Why? Firstly it’s a huge boost for collectors or anybody looking to discover the un-rivalled rich listening experience of vinyl and shows that events such as Record Store Day are definitely working in promoting vinyl exposure.

Also more sales means more labels and artists will be looking to release records on vinyl (especially when you consider the common complaint that compensation for artists from streaming services is very poor), which of course means more choice for us music lovers.

On the other hand Friedlander suggested that “overall, the music industry has become the most-digital in terms of all traditional media outlets” and the stats don’t lie. The upside to this is that we have so many avenues for discovering and enjoying new music, with more streaming providers competing to offer the best service to customers… and let’s face it you can’t exactly take a turntable everywhere with you when you’re on the go!

To hear the multi-dimensional sound of vinyl or to find out more about streaming compatible hi-fi feel free to pay us a visit or contact our telesales team on 0333 900 0093. With our extensive knowledge and huge range of hi-fi products we’ll help you make the right choice.