Baby Boomers, Kids Boost U.S. Demand For Vinyl Records
The introduction of the compact disc nearly wiped off record albums, with major record labels selling, scrapping, and dismantling vinyl pressing machinery.
Photo Insert: Record album sales revenue increased by a staggering 61 percent in 2021 and surpassed $1 billion for the first time since the 1980s, exceeding growth rates for paid music subscriptions and streaming services like Spotify and Pandora.
However, four decades later, manufacturers are fast reconstructing an industry to keep up with sales that topped $1 billion last year, with resurrected record album sales experiencing double-digit yearly growth.
To try to meet North American demand, dozens more record-pressing factories have been constructed, yet it still isn't enough. According to Mark Michaels, CEO and chairman of United Record Pressing, the country's largest record producer, in Nashville, Tennessee, the industry "has found a new gear and is accelerating at a new pace," David Sharp reported early on June 25, 2022, for the Associated Press (AP).
For more than a decade, the demand for vinyl records has been growing by double digits, and mass merchandisers like Target were expanding their album range right when the pandemic delivered a startling jolt.
Music fans started buying record albums at an even quicker rate as a result of music tours being canceled and people being stuck at home.
According to the Recording Industry Association of America, record album sales revenue increased by a staggering 61 percent in 2021 and surpassed $1 billion for the first time since the 1980s, exceeding growth rates for paid music subscriptions and streaming services like Spotify and Pandora.
Before compact discs beat out cassettes in sales, record albums were on the verge of extinction. Then came Apple iPods, 99-cent downloads, digital downloads, and online piracy. Streaming services have become commonplace.
According to Larry Jaffee, author of "Record Store Day: The Most Improbable Comeback of the 21st Century," this vinyl renaissance which began approximately 15 years ago was fueled in part by sentimental baby boomers who missed browsing record albums in their neighborhood record shops.