The Strange Revival of Vinyl Records - GV Wire - Explore. Explain. Expose
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The Strange Revival of Vinyl Records



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“The LP will be around for a good long while,” Patricia Heimers, a spokeswoman for the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), told the Associated Press in 1989. Ms Heimers’ prediction may then have seemed tin-eared. Sales of cassettes and CDs already far outstripped those of 12-inch glossy black platters. In the 1990s vinyl almost vanished altogether. In 2005 a mere $14m-worth of records were sold in America. But like an ageing rocker, vinyl is making a comeback. In the first half of this year, the RIAA says, sales reached $224m, up by 13% year on year. In 2019 as a whole they should reach $500m and exceed those of CDs for the first time since 1986.
Even so, vinyl still accounts for only 4% of the market for recorded music. Sales of CDs have been declining fast. These days paid-for streaming services, such as Spotify and Apple Music, bring in 62% of the industry’s revenue—which is in turn less than half of what it was 20 years ago in inflation-adjusted terms, despite a recent improvement.

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