Vinyl’s Second Act: Defying Its Own Decline, the LP Endures

HD vinyl production at Making Vinyl in Berlin. Photo: Rebeat innovation GmbH The Dead Media Archive, a Wiki compendium of doomed communications formats and delivery systems, has officially declared 8-tracks, mixtapes, laserdiscs, jukeboxes, the Sony Walkman and Limewire extinct. But a funny thing happened on the way to oblivion for that analog sound conveyance known as the 12-inch LP. It refused to die, not even when attacked by CDs and MP3s. And in the last 10 years, album sales have not only skyrocketed, they continue to increase while CD and digital download sales fall. “When you try to kill a format three, four or five times and it keeps coming back, I don't see it going away anytime soon,” says Eric Astor, owner of Furnace Record Pressing in Alexandria, Virginia. In 2006, when the ascent began, about 900,000 albums were sold in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. In 2018, 16.8 million were sold, up nearly 15 percent from  2017, according to Nielsen Music figures. And Astor says that figure may be underestimated by up to 70 percent. Most vinyl sales go unreported, Astor claims. “The capacity in our country for vinyl is 40 to 50 million units a…

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