Vinyl record sales at highest level in 25 years

Vinyl was in demand in 2016. Picture: JANE BARLOW
Vinyl was in demand in 2016. Picture: JANE BARLOW
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Vinyl records enjoyed a staggering renaissance in 2016, with sales jumping to their highest level in 25 years, it has emerged.

New figures show more than 3.2 million LPs were sold across the UK last year, marking a rise of 53 per cent on 2015 and the highest annual total since 1991, when Simply Red’s Stars was the best-selling album.

It marks the ninth consecutive year that vinyl sales have grown, a far cry from the meagre 200,000 LPs sold in 2007.

Andy Watters, proprietor of Vinyl Villains on Elm Row, said he wasn’t surprised by the revival. “Records have never really gone away.

“We see a lot of younger people buying them, normally in their late teens, or early 20s.

“Classic Rock records have been most popular for us this year. We sold loads of David Bowie after he passed away and Pink Floyd.

“It’s great to see the 
people of Edinburgh still 
buying records. You always get your money’s worth and they are something people can always keep.”

David Bowie’s untimely death last January led to him becoming the best-selling vinyl artist of 2016, with five albums posthumously featuring in the top 30.

His Blackstar album, which was shortlisted for a Mercury Prize, was the most popular-selling album of the year, while Bowie fans kept his music alive by buying The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars, Hunky Dory, Nothing Has Changed and Changesonebowie.

While still niche products, LPs now account for nearly five per cent of the albums market, according to the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).

At least 30 titles sold more than 10,000 copies in 2016, compared with just ten the year before, boosted by events such as Record Store Day and an increasing audience among younger fans.

Douglas McShane, who owns Backbeat Records on East Crosscauseway, Edinburgh’s oldest record shop, added: “We are celebrating being open for 36 years.

“We sell everything from Abba to Frank Zappa, but we specialise in Jazz, Blues and Soul music. What we find is when artists die, we see an increase in people buying their records. We get people coming in to visit us from all over the world. It’s fantastic records are still this popular.”

Streaming services have also rocketed 500 per cent since 2013 to 45 billion audio streams in 2016 alone through digital services such as Spotify, Apple, Deezer and Tidal, equating to more than 1,500 streams for every household in the UK.

December saw the milestone of one billion audio streams in a single week for the first time, underlying the growth of streaming as the format of choice for many music fans, with it now accounting for more than a third of all UK music consumption.

But while streaming and vinyl saw marked increases, sales of CDs were down by more than ten per cent – though the BPI said the format remains resilient.