Records' rebirth fuelled by older music obsessives, not young hipsters
Recent reports suggest that vinyl records have undergone something of a re-emergence in the last year, with sales topping one million units.
Major retailers are trying to exploit the trend too. Tesco now sells vinyl albums in its stores, and has even adapted some of its advertising to tie its 'back to basics' range to with iconic album covers. While Urban Outfitters is another outlet with a significant vinyl section, it is still relatively rare for major high street chains to stock records in a bid to lure younger consumers.
But who are the people fuelling vinyl's comeback?
YouGov Profiles data suggests that records' resurgence is rooted in middle-aged nostalgia. When compared to the adult population as a whole, those that have purchased a vinyl album recently are more likely to be aged between 45-54. By contrast, those in the 18-24 aged group are the least likely.
Furthermore, music plays a central part in vinyl buyer’s lives. Two thirds (66%) of this group say they could not get through day without listening to music, compared to 49% of UK adults in general. A third (33%) of record buyers say they listen 'whenever they can' compared to 25% of over-18s overall.
Record buyers are passionate about music and are more likely to go to gigs than the population at large. Fully two-thirds (68%) of vinyl lovers say they enjoy seeing their favourite artists live (compared to 47%) and are more likely to be happy to spend money to support their preferred acts (21% compared to 9%). Downloading music illegally is condemned, with 59% of vinyl fans saying it is wrong, compared to 55% of over-18s in general.
There may be a suggestion that music helps this group emotionally too. Vinyl buyers are slightly more likely to both keep their feelings to themselves (56% vs. 53%) and enjoy being alone (69% vs 66%).
For now, the vinyl renaissance remains something of a sideshow to the digital juggernaut. To become fully ingratiated in music culture once more, vinyl will have to covince younger music fans – used to the convenience their preferred services provide – of their worth. Doing this will be no easy thing given playing a record requires them to buy a load of new (and expensive) kit.
What’s more, those in the younger age groups must be convinced to see the albums as more than just an extension to their favourite band's t-shirt. It will be a irony indeed if album covers are used to sell everything except the records themselves.