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Gloucestershire Business News

Record breaker: why vinyl's in the pink

Vinyl record sales are continuing to soar. 

According to the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), more than 2.7m LPs were sold in the first six months of 2023 and the tally spelt a rise of 12 per cent from last year.

The revival for vinyl had already garnered headlines in 2022, when total sales of 5.5m helped records to their largest share of the market since 1990.

And while CD sales that year totalled 11.6m, industry watchers say LPs produced more revenue for the industry – and also point out that BPI figures, which cover a majority of major record labels, do not cover the extent of retail activity.

Tom Berry, owner of Sound Records in George Street, says that is certainly the case, given that the resurgence is driven by small, independent labels whose sales are not collated in industry figures.

Mr Berry said: "We've been here for five years and I now have two staff – business is really good and it's certainly the case that independent label demand is strong."

But while older men make up a solid base for his clientel, he says mums shopping for presents and teenage girls seeking such new music as Taylor Swift's latest album – reported by the Guardian last month as the top vinyl sale so far this year – are no strangers.

"We've seen sales increase in the last decade and there is something about the tangible format of vinyl that people connect to. So while we find our trade is underpinned by collectors, the customer base is really broad and the use of eco-sourced plastics by many labels also gives people the reassurance that buying a record might be retro but is still a green purchase."

In 2021, the retro trend for vinyl sales accounted for 4.5m purchases, while deck spinners in the USA shopped for a staggering 39.7m. And in 2022, 12-inch records enjoyed their largest volume of sales in the UK since 1990 – with 5.5m flying off British shelves.

BPI figures show the best-selling LP so far this year has been Lana Del Rey's Did You Know That There's a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd, followed by albums from British artists Lewis Capaldi and Gorillaz.

A spokesman for the BPI said: "Demand for vinyl continues to rise despite many years of growth, driven by the passion fans feel for the format and the emotional connection it provides with the music they love."

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