Vinyl sales this year have smashed a near 20-year record with over 1 million copies sold. Sales are at the highest point since 1996, estimates project that the total will exceed 1.2 million with an injection of cash over the Christmas period, driven mostly by iconic rock albums from bands such as Pink Floyd and Led Zepplin. But, unsurprisingly, the highest selling vinyl album this year is Arctic Monkeys’ fifth studio album AM, which despite its success drew polarised opinions.
The figures have shocked many due to the digital dominance over distribution in the UK music industry. Oligopolistic online music providers such as iTunes and Spotify control a huge part of the market, with high-street media retailers such as HMV collapsing, and CDs on a steady decline, the repopularisation of vinyl is something most did not expect.
Nostalgia is certainly a word you could apply to the recent change of tides, with CDs on a lethean decline into distant memory, fans and audiophiles have succumbed to the traditional – something with aesthetic.
Aside from dads waxing lyrical about the forgotten days of music, where fingering through tactile records was exactly one-half of the joy, there is still an omnipresent demand for new vinyl releases – in the genre of electronica.
With the digitised epoch revolutionising with way creators view creating, DJing has been simplified almost to the point of removing its value, but some stick to their roots and only mix vinyl, and so cultures a demand for record labels to keep pressing new releases. Although, the vinyl market still only represents 2% of all UK music sales.
It’s said that the first play from a virgin vinyl is unrivaled, at which point a steady decline in quality ensues. DJs especially can stand testament to this fact, with their low-angled scratching needles carving grooves out of their totem LPs.
East London is the staple go to of anything current. The recent resurgence in vinyl popularity is no different. This weekend in hipster-central Brick Lane the annual Independent Label Market takes seat. Nearly a hundred different UK independent labels including Hyperdub, XL, 4AD and Mute are set to present their wares.
On sale are the latest LPs CDs and tapes alongside other merchandise. This is a vinyl lover’s haven, but be warned, you parent’s collection doesn’t have a place here. Expect the latest in techno, afrobeat, disco, house and indie with exclusive test pressings, rave remixes and limited edition bootlegs.
Fortunately London’s Brewers’ Market is hosting a pop-up beer garden, same day same place, so you can have a beer to lubricate yourself through the crowds of discerning Christmas shoppers. Everything kicks of at 11am but we recommend getting down there early to squeeze in the best deals.