Vinyl, Vinyl Everywhere

The Analog Record in the Digital World

Authored by: Richard Osborne

The Routledge Companion to Media Technology and Obsolescence

Print publication date:  December  2018
Online publication date:  November  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138216266
eBook ISBN: 9781315442686
Adobe ISBN:


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Vinyl records differ from other media technologies in this book. Their obsolescence was planned and was perhaps expected but it has not happened. Quite the opposite, in fact: there have been a number of vinyl revivals, the strongest of which is currently taking place. In the U.S., sales of vinyl albums and EPs declined from their peak of 341 million units in 1978, to just 900,000 in 2006 (Hogan, 2014). The situation was similar in the U.K. 1978 was the peak year, with trade deliveries of 86 million albums; in 2007 only 205,000 vinyl albums were sold (Osborne, 2012: 1). The last decade has witnessed a transformation. In the U.S., sales of vinyl albums increased 15-fold between 2006 and 2017, when total sales reached 14.3 million units (Caulfield, 2018). In Britain, 4.1 million albums were sold in 2017, the highest figure for 21 years (BPI, 2018). This upward trend is expected to continue. Research and Markets have forecast an annual growth rate in worldwide vinyl sales of 55.15% between 2016 and 2020 (Houghton, 2016a).

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