Report: Vinyl is making a comeback

… or at least, compared to CDs.

These days, the go-to medium of choice for the majority of folks is online music streaming. The variety of music streaming platforms out there has resulted in the continued fall of older formats, although vinyl records have continued to be popular with niche users: audiophiles, collectors, and so on.

In fact, vinyl isn’t going away anytime soon—not according to a new report by CNN. In the U.S., sales for vinyl records have overtaken CD sales for the first time since the 80s. CDs accounted for USD129.9 million (~RM536 million) while vinyls raked in USD232.1 million (~RM959 million).

The comeback of vinyl appears to have been chugging along for over a decade now. Since 2005, vinyl sales have grown year-on-year, with sales growing by 4 percent during the first half of 2020. For some context, the new-er CD format has seen a drop in revenue by 48 percent for 2020.

However, physical sales continue to drop as expected—despite the vinyl resurgence. This is, in part, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, although it could be argued that physical music stores have been decreasing in popularity for awhile now. Most mainstream songs, or even podcasts, are widely available via Spotify, Apple Music, or other platforms, which are usually available for cut-price monthly subscriptions (compared to buying actual records, that is).

The report also details the popularity that these streaming platforms enjoy, with premium subscriptions increasing by 24 percent. This certainly makes sense, given the vast library of tracks that are available for relatively affordable prices; for free accounts, platforms like Spotify usually remove certain features, such as the ability to skip tracks, or download them for offline playback.

Ultimately, online streaming is now the “dominating” format for music playback, making up over 85 percent of industry revenue, according to CNN. Despite the pandemic, the music industry as a whole has still grown (5.6 percent)—with a total of USD 5.7 billion (~RM23.5 billion) made in revenue during the first six months of 2020.

Still, the report bodes well for vinyl collectors out there—and yes, vinyl isn’t dead. While many may look at the antiquated format as an expensive collector’s hobby, there has been a proliferation of cheaper, modern vinyl players that also support modern, internet-based modes of listening to music.

So, what do you think? Are you a vinyl collector? Let us know in the comments section below.