U.K. Vinyl Music Sales Hit Highest Level in a Decade

4:15 AM PST 10/18/2013 by Georg Szalai
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Daft Punk

Releases from Daft Punk and David Bowie have led to purchases of more than half a million records this year, the first time that mark has been crossed since 2003.

LONDON – Releases from Daft Punk, David Bowie and the Arctic Monkeys have boosted sales of vinyl LPs in the U.K. this year.

Year to date, almost 550,000 records have been sold, the first time since 2003 that the half-million mark has been crossed in Britain, according to the Official Charts Company and industry group BPI.

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The year-to-date vinyl sales figures reflect a year-over-year improvement of more than 100 percent, and LPs now account for 0.8 percent of all albums sold in the U.K. this year. As recently as 2007, that share had shrunk to just 0.1 percent.

With around 15,000 LPs currently being bought every week, BPI estimated that more than 700,000 units could be sold by year's end. That would be the highest full-year sales figure since 2001 and could potentially generate $19.2 million (£12 million) in revenue, the group said.

Record Store Day, a one-day celebration of independent record shops in April, alone generated $3.2 million (£2 million) in vinyl sales, according to the BPI.

Daft Punk leads the year-to-date vinyl sales chart with its album "Random Access Memories. Oasis holds the record for the two top-selling LPs since the Official Charts Company began tracking sales. Their "(What’s the Story) Morning Glory" has sold more vinyl records than any other release since 1994, followed by the band's "Definitely Maybe."

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"The LP is back in the groove," said BPI CEO Geoff Taylor. "We're witnessing a renaissance for records -- they’re no longer retromania and are becoming the format of choice for more and more music fans."

He added: "Whilst sales only account for a small percentage of the overall market, vinyl sales are growing fast as a new generation discovers the magic of 12 inch artwork, liner notes and the unique sound of analog records, often accompanied by a download code for MP3s."

In an online survey of 1,700 U.K. vinyl buyers, the BPI found that seven in 10 people buy LPs at least once a month, and one in five make a vinyl purchase at least once a week. More than 85 percent said LPs were their favorite music format, with 47.5 percent saying that vinyl accounted for over half of their spending on music.

Not all buyers even own a turntable, as 3.7 percent of respondents in the survey said that they bought LPs despite not owning one. The poll also found that the typical vinyl buyer in Britain has 300 LPs and 80 singles in their collection.

New LPs from big stars are set to be released late this year ahead of the holiday season. Among them are albums from Arcade Fire, Paul McCartney and Pearl Jam.

E-mail: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai

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