The true story of modern vinyl record sales - Kevin Buckle

Going by the amount of vinyl we’ve sold in the shop as Christmas presents this week, it certainly looks like the vinyl revival is going to be with us for a while yet.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 4th December 2021, 7:00 am
A man looks at vinyl record albums  in a music store
A man looks at vinyl record albums in a music store

I have to be honest, I was one of those who predicted that, good as it was to see, it was only a matter of time before sales started to drop again and yet there is no sign of any lack of fervour for buying vinyl, even though prices have increased considerably over the last year.

The music industry is, of course, not averse to the sort of jiggery-pokery Edinburgh Council regularly use with their analysis of consultations and most people will now have seen that “vinyl outsells CD”.

If we use the measure used for decades of sale numbers, then this is not true at all.

What is true is that with vinyl on average now selling for around three times the price of a CD, the value of sales now is slightly greater for vinyl than CD.

All the recent massive new releases from Abba, Ed Sheeran and Adele all sold in far greater numbers on CD than vinyl but that is a narrative you don’t really hear in the media.

At the other end of the scale, with bands still able to sell in the thousands there is a massive scramble when a release is announced to get fans to order a wide array of limited editions and that is something I have decided to stand back from.

Sure there will be an indies-only coloured vinyl, but more often than not there will be a different coloured vinyl directly from the band or their label with the option to purchase a T-shirt or get a limited print. Bigger artists may give Amazon a different version while other bands will give one particular shop an exclusive which simply disadvantages all the other shops that have supported them in the past.

Some shops have started making up their own exclusives adding something here or there and it really just smacks of desperation.

Avalanche has always just tried to have reasonable prices and the number one question we get asked these days is why are our prices so low

I should make it clear we are not discounting and make a reasonable margin on what we sell so the question is why are other shops prices so high.

We were brought into Waverley Market to make things a bit more interesting and I think we have succeeded in that, doing something different while still clearly being a record shop.

Such has been the success in fact that we recently agreed to extend our stay and were rewarded by being allowed to demolish the changing rooms we had inherited at the back of the shop to free up more space.

That work was completed this week as it could be done while remaining open and we have also added a public entrance to our large store room, so it can be used as a gallery among other things when needed.

Given our location the aim was to create a shop that had something for everybody and appealed to all ages while not losing the feel of an indie record shop and I’m very happy with what we now have.