By Jon Whiteaker - 11:22AM - Mon 15th August 2011
Special editions and nationwide promotions helped sales of vinyl records total 168,296 units for the first half of 2011, new data released today reveals.
This represents a 55 per cent rise on the comparative January to June period in 2010, with the most bought records taking on a larger proportion of total sales.
Radiohead’s King of Limbs album was the most popular release for the first six months of 2011 for the format shifting 20,771 copies, whilst last year the top seller for this period Paul Weller’s Wake Up The Nation sold just 1,446 units.
At a time when CD sales are declining and have been replaced by downloads as the most common format for music, the resilience of the decades old vinyl market is a positive sign for record stores trying to re-position themselves in a digital world.
Kim Bayley, Director General of Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA), said: “Vinyl may still be a niche format, but it is growing fast.
“Whether it is the ‘warmer’ sound many music fans appreciate, the large-scale artwork of a 12-inch sleeve or its sheer retro appeal, vinyl seems to be capturing the imagination of buyers despite the fact it typically costs twice as much as a CD containing exactly the same music.”
Many of the new vinyl records of the first half were released in conjunction with Record Store Day in April, which saw live performances and special events at music stores across the country, increasing consumer interest.
Radiohead’s latest album is an example of how musicians are increasingly using the vinyl format as a way to sell special editions of their releases, with the Oxford-based band designing artwork in the shape of a newspaper to accompany the record.
The riots that affected many large cities in the UK last week also struck a major blow to a significant amount of independent record labels, as a fire at a Sony distribution centre in Enfield destroyed entire stocks of hundreds of their yet-to-be-released records.
At a time when physical music sales are struggling this came as a major blow however the upturn in vinyl trading offers retailers a real boost, as research from the ERA shows consumers are willing to pay £16.30 on average for a vinyl album compared to £7.82 and £6.80 for CD and digital equivalents.
Bayley added: “Much of the focus in the music industry has been on cutting prices, partly in response to the rise of internet piracy. The success of vinyl shows music buyers will pay a premium if we deliver them a package they really love.”
Top 10 Vinyl Albums Jan-June 2011 (according to the Official Charts Company)