A Mid-Year Look At Vinyl

The headlines from BuzzAngle’s mid-year music report focused on the growth of on-demand streaming and the carnage surrounding the paid digital download market. Eventually we will turn to everyone’s favorite music topic: Vinyl. BuzzAngle reported a 17% increase in vinyl sales for the first half of 2016, and while not quite the torrid pace of the past few years, vinyl continues to post impressive gains. From time to time MusicWatch has posted statistics on the consumer purchasing of vinyl, and we thought this would be a good time for an update. The data is sourced from MusicWatch’s audiocensusSM tracking service covering January-April 2016 and based on an online sample of 4,800 US respondents aged 13+.

Historically we have reported on the “vinyl” buyer. But looking back that’s a bit of a misnomer as there is a dual market;  sales of new product, as reported by BuzzAngle, and for used.  We currently project there are actually more customers for used vinyl than for new.

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In any given month most vinyl buyers choose either new or used, but the more time goes by the more that will equalize, and certainly hardcore vinyl shoppers are more likely to buy both new and used in a given window of time.

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The question we get asked most often is “who are they”? Are vinyl buyers boomers craving nostalgia and the so-called pure sound of records? Or are they young hipster “uber” fans for whom vinyl is a self-branding way to connect with favorite artists? The answer is yes, sort of.

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One-third of new vinyl buyers are aged 13-24, and by the way, 66 percent of new buyers are male. The profile for used vinyl is similar, except that there are a few more in the 55 and over bucket. By contrast boomers really show their presence for listening to vinyl—the 55+ segment accounts for 26 percent of vinyl listeners.

Their favorite genre? Whether buyer or listener, the #1 favorite genre was 80/90s Hits followed by Classic Rock, Alternative and Pop.

Amazon led the shopper traffic in Q1; 30 percent of vinyl shoppers reported buying a unit from the online retailer.

Although vinyl is not growing as rapidly as on-demand streaming the format continues to grow, thanks to continued interest from younger consumers who keep it hip. But good for us boomers who think the only way to enjoy “Eat A Peach” is on the old Thorens with that Stanton cartridge dancing the grooves.

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