Vinyl, Vinyl everywhere: The analog record in the digital world

Osborne, Richard ORCID logoORCID: (2018) Vinyl, Vinyl everywhere: The analog record in the digital world. In: The Routledge Companion to Media Technology and Obsolescence. Wolf, Mark J. P., ed. Routledge, pp. 200-214. ISBN 9781138216266. [Book Section]

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In the United States sales of vinyl records have grown tenfold since 2007. While only 988,000 vinyl albums were sold in 2007, a total of 9.2 were sold in 2014. This constitutes 6% of all physical album sales. Meanwhile, 1.2 million units of vinyl were sold in the UK in 2014, the highest sales figure since 1996. Sales of record players are also on the rise in each country, as are the numbers of independent record stores. This activity is not wholly retrospective either: new music is being released on vinyl and many of its consumers are young. Why, out of all analogue formats, has the vinyl record shown not only resilience but growth? In this chapter I provide a brief history of the vinyl record, looking at the key attributes that have contributed to its popularity, including its auditory suitability for recorded music and its visual and tactile appeal. I also look at vinyl’s relationship with the formats that have sought to replace or accompany it: the compact disc, the cassette, the download and the digital stream. Finally, I address the nature of the vinyl revival: what has driven it; what is distinct about current modes of vinyl appreciation; can the popularity of vinyl be maintained?

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: ISBN: 9781315442686 (eBook)
Research Areas: A. > School of Media and Performing Arts > Performing Arts > Music group
Item ID: 26044
Notes on copyright: This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in The Routledge Companion to Media Technology and Obsolescence on 29/11/2018, available online:
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Depositing User: Richard Osborne
Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2019 14:14
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2022 12:29

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