Brexit effect? Brits spend more on vinyl than on downloads

Brexit effect? Brits spend more on vinyl than on downloads


norman lebrecht

December 07, 2016

This country is going backwards.

BBC report:

More money was spent on vinyl than downloaded albums last week, for the first time.

Vinyl sales made the record industry £2.4m, while downloads took in £2.1m, the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) said.


bartok field recording


  • Stephen says:

    No going back to vinyls for me, thank you very much – they’ll be bringing back the musicassette next. I was so glad to see the back of them both with the arrival of the CD – farewell the clicking and the scratching, the warps and dishing, the accumulating dust, the sticking tapes, farewell!

    • Christopher Culver says:

      People purchasing vinyl do not necessarily intend on actually listening to the vinyl. Most vinyl purchasers I know personally don’t even own a turntable. Rather, they get the music for free from elsewhere, such as YouTube for people who don’t particularly care about quality, or FLACs from a filesharing community if they do. The physical artifact is purchased only as a way to decorate one’s home, as the cover art on a vinyl release makes more of an impression than the reduced dimensions of a CD.

  • Joseph Shelby says:

    Actually there is a very simple explanation for it. Apple, Amazon, Google all launching “unlimited” music streaming features to compete with Spotify.

    Listeners wanting vinyl quality (note, I’m not among them: I can’t stand the scratches once they happen) will buy the vinyl.

    Listeners who used to buy downloads but live with decent internet connections 24/7 are content to just stream the songs instead of buying them. For the short-lived ‘singles’ market, it is a killer, but for the audience of that market, it means not having a collection of pop songs a year later that you never listen to anymore.

    In any case, I think it is irrelevant to the classical market as such: there’s not enough money in vinyl yet to encourage more classical music to be released there, and the streaming world of classical still sucks because the metadata of ID3 isn’t optimized for that. Yes, there are conductor and composer fields, but the mp3s at the market places get those wrong (or leave them blank) and don’t offer a way to search them in any case.

    • Alan Munro says:

      So what does the classical music lover do!? I am a technophobe. Should I just stick with a CD)

    • flipthefrog says:

      Spotify has gotten a lot better at classical in the last year or two. Search for Mozart, and you no longer get “50 songs for lovers” or “Smart Music for Baby”, but perfectly relevant results like the recent Decca box set, Harnoncourt, Uchida etc.

      I reccomend subscribing to the user Ulysses (who I think might be a Spotify employee), who has created hundreds of classical playlists – from the complete chronological works of everything from Bach and Beethoven to Poulenc, Pärt and Britten – to “Classical Music that Imitates Bird Song” and “Australian Composers”.

      Here are some good tips on searching Spotify from Ulysses’ blog

  • Fred says:

    going backwards? Why spend money on lousy cyberspace music quality, good vynil on good equipment with good speakers is certainly not going backwards.
    furthermore most of the stuff that appeared on vynil has never been re-issued….
    People have many reasons to still buy lp’s and they aren’t silly ones and i’m not even speaking about the art cover, the tekst, the booklets etcetc

  • Don Fatale says:

    The Brexit gag is the typical cheap shot we’ve come to expect, Actually vinyl sales have been growing for the last 10 years and not just in the UK. Most of these reported sales are trendy bands (got some myself!) and 50-somethings revisiting the Dark Side Of The Moon. DG have a growing vinyl catalog although I baulk at paying the prices.

    I’m listening to some classical vinyl right now, as I do on any evening indoors. I’m not going to say it’s sounds better than CDs (although for various reasons it can) it’s about the way we interact with record players, the vinyl and their sleeve artwork and text. It feels good. Perhaps these 50-somethings have realised that life isn’t as perfect as they once expected, and that there’s a few scratches, clicks and pops along the way.

    These days, for very little, we classical and opera fans can pick up amazing collections that need a new home. I feel the original owners would be delighted their collections are still being enjoyed and appreciated.

  • Neil Thompson Shade says:

    As an avid CD collector of classical music, with a fondness for English composers – OK so I live in the States but did not vote for him – I enjoy tracking trends in the recorded music market.

    Several weeks ago I contacted three large distributor/internet sellers of CDs expressing my concern about the future of recorded classical music on CD. I was assured by these companies that they see a good future still for recorded music issued on CD, particularly in Asia and Europe. One organization told me they distribute around 1300 labels, but granted some are vanity labels set up by artists.

    I have seen some major labels now releasing classical phonograph (er, sorry, gramophone) records, but it is not of the repertoire that I would make me want to purchase a turntable again.

    I am not ready, nor do I have the time, to rip my CD collection to a computer drive. I find the streaming services and their payments to artists fundamentally flawed. Most of the audio quality is less than that obtainable on CD and the low pay per click given to the artists is, frankly, insulting. One of my employees calculated it would take nearly 500k pay to click events for him to recoup the production costs for his group’s CD.

  • Simon Evnine says:

    A great free download tool I’ve been using for about 12 years is Soulseek. Have downloaded thousands of MP3, of all kinds.