It was once a pastime dominated by audiophile dads and nostalgic hipsters. But last week, for the first time in history, the amount of money spent on vinyl records in the UK overtook that spent on digital downloads.
The interest in buying a physical format of music on vinyl has experienced a resurgence in the past 12 months. This time last year, the sale of vinyl albums reached £1.2m while digital sales were £4.4m. Vinyl has also experienced eight consecutive years of growth, despite almost dying out around 2006.
Kim Bayley, chief executive of the Entertainment Retailers Association, attributed the surge in part to the number of places now selling records across the UK. An increasing number of vinyl-only record shops have opened, while supermarkets such as Sainsbury’s and Tesco, and even high street interiors shop Tiger, now stock records, making them easily accessible.
Bayley said vinyl had experienced a particular boost in the past week because it was becoming an increasingly popular choice for Christmas presents.
“The vast majority of releases are coming out in vinyl now,” said Bayley. “It used to be that only heritage acts or niche albums would come out as a record, but now everything does – pop albums, compilations, film soundtracks, all genres.”