New Report: 50% of Vinyl Record Purchasers in U.S. Don’t Have a Record Player

It’s a new world. Er, rather, maybe it’s an old world again. Either way, vinyl sales continue to jump—for many reasons.

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In fact, the tactile musical medium is so popular that some 50% of its buyers don’t even own a record player, according to a new survey. The buyers just have to have the LPs anyway.

Indeed, according to Luminate, only 50% of the people who bought a record in the past year own a record player. (And only 15% of music listeners overall own one.) Therefore, strangely, 50% of vinyl purchasers don’t own a record player.

Now, some of these purchases may be gifts for others, but studies have shown people enjoy simply owning the tactile record or putting it on walls for decoration. Others simply buy them to support the band.

A 2016 survey showed that 40% of vinyl record purchasers owned a turntable but never used it. That same year a BBC story interviewed student Jordan Katende who said, “I just collect them and put them on my wall, I think it looks great… I literally do it based on how it looks, or if I feel like I have a connection with the artist… If I think it’ll look good on my wall, so be it.”

Whatever the reason, vinyl continues to be on the rise.

To wit, the Recording Industry Association of America says via its 2022 year-end report that annual vinyl sales exceeded CD sales in the U.S. in 2022 for the first time since 1987. Customers bought 41.3 million vinyl albums compared to 33.4 million CDs. Furthermore, revenues from vinyl album sales rose 17.2% to $1.2 billion in 2022 and CD sales fell nearly 18% to $483 million.

But these sales are dwarfed by streaming services, which last year accounted for 84% of recorded music revenue in the U.S.

The general good news is, as NME reports, music sales overall increased by three percent in 2022—thanks, in part, to Harry Styles’ 2022 album, Harry’s House, which was the year’s best seller. In the U.S., sales grew even more—more than 6%.

So, while vinyl sales go up and bands like Metallica seem to get into the vinyl pressing game, it would seem as if the new trend is out with the new, in with the old.

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