Vinyl sales overtake digital purchases for first time in the UK

Credits: Flickr / Matoff

Written by Chiara Fiorillo

The Entertainment Retailers Association has released some unexpected data: last week, for the first time in the UK, the sales of vinyl record (£2.4 mln) have passed those of digital music (£2.1 mln).

Kim Bayley, chief executive of the ERA, said the success of vinyl can be partly attributed to Christmas shopping. Also, being old-fashioned, vinyl seems to be a more attractive alternative than digital music. In the UK several supermarkets, such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s, as well as high street brands such as Tiger, are starting to stock records, making the product more accessible to everyone.

“The vast majority of releases are coming out in vinyl now,” said Bayley. Nowadays, indeed, not only popular albums, but also pop music, compilations and film soundtracks are coming out as a record. Among the best-selling records of this week, indeed, there are Kate Bush, Amy Winehouse, Busted, the “Guardian of the Galaxy” film soundtrack and “Now That’s What I Call Christmas” compilation album.

Vinyl sales are growing not only in the UK, but also in the USA and in Italy, where in the first six months of 2016 there has been a growth of 43% compared to the same period of 2015.

Another surprising element, according to Bayley, is the age of people buying vinyls: teenagers and people under 25 buy records in order to have something more tangible. Bayley pointed out, indeed, that it is difficult “to demonstrate your love for an artist if you don’t have something to hold on to”.

Sean Forbes, manager of the record shop Rough Trade West in London, said there has been a massive increase in people buying vinyl. Even though some customers buy vinyls only as a memento, he said, others are so passionate about music that they enter the shop just to buy “The Clash London Calling” or “Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon”.

No matter the technological developments, people will always want to buy vinyls, even when we’ve all been dead a hundred years, he added.