This article makes the case that vinyl is not going to save the music industry. It is largely based on the premise that while new vinyl sales have increased dramatically, sales have probably peaked and may very well begin to drop. Its hard to argue against that, but I’m not yet convinced that new vinyl sales have peaked. We do not consume music on vinyl the same way we do digital (MP3 etc) or streamed music. Vinyl is to music what fine dining is to food. Streaming music is in many ways the fast food of music – you get an unlimited supply and because of the sheer quantity and such a low cost, consumers really don’t quibble about the quality. If I stream an Apple play list of crappy pop music, all of lost is a bit of time. If I buy a crappy vinyl album, I feel pretty bad about it. Like paying for a five star restaurant meal, I expect quality from the vinyl I purchase.
Just like five star restaurants are not going to save the food service industry, vinyl is not going to save the music industry. That however is not the second death-knell of vinyl. Those who love the sound and experience of vinyl will continue to purchase new vinyl as they are released. Since many more musicians are choosing to release on vinyl, I expect some continued growth.
The other issue raised in this article is the fact that used vinyl sales are not tracked, do not contribute to the income of musicians or the music industry as a whole, and used vinyl sales are huge. True that used vinyl sales do not directly contribute to musician and music industry income, but there are spin-offs from this market. The biggest impact is the value that people see in vinyl. If there is value in the used item, there is also value in the new item. This will drive some sales of new vinyl. There is no market for used streamed music or downloaded MP3s.
Nevertheless, this article is still a worthwhile read.