The resurgence of vinyl records in the U.S.
Growing up in the early 2000s, we remember listening to music through CDs, mp3 players, and even the iPod Shuffle if you were lucky enough. The technology has advanced in the last two decades, however, leaving behind what we all knew as the norm. Streaming music online is now the source of our music through the use of Spotify, Apple Music, and other services. It would seem that the way we once consumed music is no longer of use to our generation. Despite this trend, a piece of musical tech long forgotten has risen from the ashes in recent years: the vinyl record player.
(Record) Record sales
In 2021, sales of vinyl records rose 61% from the previous year to one billion in revenue, per Fortune. That figure was the highest its been since 1986, the same year Metallica's Master of Puppets and The Beastie Boys' Licensed To III were released. Record sales also outpaced CD sales in 2020 for the first time since 1994. Vinyl records have obviously made a return, so it begs the question:
What is the driving force behind this increase in record popularity?
The answer is Adele, Taylor Swift, and Olivia Rodrigo...
or rather their respective album vinyl releases.
All three artists had an incredible year for vinyl in 2021 with Adele's 30 leading the way at 318,000 total sales, followed by Olivia Rodrigo's Sour and Taylor Swift's Red(Taylor's Version) at 268,000 and 260,000, respectively. It's also worth mentioning that Swift had three albums in the Top 10 Best-Selling Vinyls of 2021 with Evermore at 6th and Folklore at 9th on the list.
"Physical albums are now the mark of artists' most devoted fans." -Scott Nover, Emerging Industries Reporter at Quartz
It is undeniable.
Those of us who buy these vinyls feel some sort of pride in the purchase, as if our favorite artist might hop on the next plane and personally thank us for supporting them (still waiting on a thank you note from Cage The Elephant , fingers crossed.) We know it won't happen, but that feeling still remains. Having a small fraction of the artist you love's creativity in your hand is so much more satisfying than listening to that same music on repeat at reduced audio quality for the sake of saving space.
While reverting to what we know has been tossed aside by our generation, blasting to the past certainly has not. We grew up with the internet. We were there at the conception of streaming music. We have seen it replace CD's and other physical forms of music. Its consistent rise to the top grew as did all of us. We may buy the newest clothes, phones, or ground-breaking technology, but in this rare instance: