Whilst Ted may not appreciate your type of music, nor may he find it adequate enough to use as part of his crude and rude yet inventive comments, illegal music downloading alongside purchased digital music may find itself come face to face with the first recorded format in history.... the vinyl.
After reading that vinyl sales in 2014 reached a record high in 18 years, it could be the sign of things to come as we are now fully embracing 2015. Thought to be sparked off by the hipster movement, vinyls are being bought from the most independent stores to nationwide chain stores such as HMV. The fact that vinyl sales are increasing could indicate a swing away from the digital downloading option and towards a physical media purchasing route. The imminent threat however comes from digital music streaming as this new media channel seems to be increasing in popularity endlessly and with services like Spotify leading the charge, the question that needs to be addressed is will vinyls hamper digital downloads for a period of time or is this just a blip in music consumerism?
Well with the Official Charts Company just recently announcing a vinyl chart (1*) alongside it's continual album and single sales charts, it would seem that they believe this is not just a blip in the music industry, but rather a more prolonged swing to the old times of pitching the gramophone and letting the vinyl play, before being flipped over to the other side; it was the playing of a vinyl that made Nipper the HMV dog immediately recognize that the vinyl that was playing, was in fact 'His Masters Voice' - that is his owner was singing.
Consumers also tend to forget that everything comes in cycles, e.g. we saw the emergence of the VHS, then the DVD, the Blu Ray and then the 3D Blu Ray. Yet DVD's tend to outsell Blu Rays and crucially there are lesser titles available in the Blu Ray range compared to DVD's. Contextualized with music, we saw the vinyl, then the tape, then the CD, then the digital music age and now we are seeing the reemergence of vinyl, so could the music media evolution be re-revolutionizing itself?
According to the Wall Street Journal (2*), "Vinyl-record sales of 9.2 million were the highest since SoundScan started tracking sales in 1991, and a 52% increase from 2013" and yet the "use of streaming grew sharply to 164 billion songs—a 54% increase from 106 billion in 2013", so it can be safe to say that vinyls and streaming services are both killing the digital downloading age and it makes sense in retrospect. Think about it, you can listen to music whenever you want and don't need to clutter your hard drive up with audio files; with exception to the vinyl-to-mp3 converter.
There again didn't retro make a comeback? Are people actually that fed up with the modern day trash that the old ways just seem more than the best option, but rather the most modest and rewarding?
Makes you think doesn't it? How can it be that Urban Outfitters have latched on to this revelation and started to sell vinyls to it's consumers when it's core products revolve around the 'hipster' trend amongst others - see the relation? The thing is "across the globe it is now one of the biggest stockists of vinyl" (3*) and with this fact, Urban Outfitters could alongside HMV bring vinyl fully to the consumer forefront.
The days of digital music downloading look bleak, with streaming becoming it's only digital threat and vinyl attacking it from the physical side, could we see tapes reemerge again in the future? Will illegal downloading become a fad of the past, and ultimately will outlets like iTunes and Amazon have to rethink their digital music downloading strategies and marketing to compete with this remarkable musical consumerism turnaround?
Oh and with Record Store Day this Saturday 18th April 2015, why not seek a fair few intriguing vinyls on the day and see if you can discover these gems?
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