Vinyl sales up 55%


Thursday July 28th, 2011 10:58

Vinyl sales up 55%


Vinyl sales were up 55% in the first half of the year, according to data from the Entertainment Retailers Association and Official Charts Company. And while they still remain a niche product overall, ERA stats also suggest many music fans will pay a premium to buy music on good old fashioned vinyl, even though many are likely to never actually put their records on a record player.

168,296 vinyl records were sold in the UK in the first half of 2011, compared with 108,307 in 2010. And ERA reckons consumers will pay on average £16.30 for a vinyl record, compared to £7.82 for CDs and £6.80 for digital. Radiohead alone contributed 20,771 of those vinyl units with their ‘King Of Limbs’ record, while limited edition vinyl releases for the increasingly popular Record Store Day helped boost the overall sales of the format too.

Commenting on these stats, ERA boss Kim Bayley told CMU: “Vinyl may still be a niche format, but it is growing fast. Whether it is the ‘warmer’ sound many music fans appreciate, the large-scale artwork of a twelve-inch sleeve or its sheer retro appeal, vinyl seems to be capturing the imagination of buyers despite the fact it typically costs twice as much as a CD containing exactly the same music. Much of the focus in the music industry [of late] has been on cutting prices, partly in response to the rise of internet piracy. The success of vinyl shows music buyers will pay a premium if we deliver them a package they really love”.

Spin Cycle – Vinyl Resurgence–spin-cycle-resurgence-of-vinyl-records-means-new-business-up-their-sleeve

Spin cycle: Resurgence of vinyl records means new business up their sleeve

Published On Tue Jul 19 2011

Paul Miller, left, and Alex Durlak, both 30, bought a disused record sleeve fabricating machined and set up shop.

Paul Miller, left, and Alex Durlak, both 30, bought a disused record sleeve fabricating machined and set up shop.


Zoe McKnightStaff Reporter

The print shop at the Record Jacket Corp. is dim, loud and hot. A single fan pushes the humid air around, and concrete walls and corrugated metal ceiling do their best to trap it inside.

The Wade Ave. workshop near Bloor St. and Lansdowne Ave., all 2,000 square feet of it, looks like an industrial relic, but it just opened in the spring.

A Winkler und Dünnebier record sleeve fabricating machine, 31 feet long and 2 tonnes of steel, takes up a third of the space. Manually operated, it can cut, fold and glue up to 10,000 12-inch record jackets per hour. The machine was made in the 1970s and fell out of use, but just like vinyl sales, has been resuscitated.

Co-owners Paul Miller and Alex Durlak, both 30, and sole employee Jason Cousineau, have tattoos and facial hair. Giant Mac screens sit on the office desks. Close friends, Miller and Durlak bonded over a mutual love of art, music and record collecting.

In 2010, a chance to buy the machine arose, and they decided to combine talents and clients to tap into a vinyl production market that, in Canada, had all but disappeared.

The new venture is one of only two record jacket companies in the country. There are just five vinyl manufacturing plants in North America. Record Jacket sells to music distributors and record labels as well as to individual independent bands. They’ve sold 15,000 sleeves since April.

Miller, from Thornhill, also runs Samo Media, a music brokering firm. Durlak, from Markham, owns Standard Form, a small press and bindery.

“The thing about vinyl is that it’s fundamentally an artifact,” Durlak says. “It’s an artifact that has a desire to be collected in a way no other format does.”

He doesn’t believe in a vinyl revival.

“I think it’s a steady niche that’s always been there and it’s not going anywhere,” Durlak says. Some genres, such as punk, hip-hop, electronica and indie rock, always produced LPs, regardless of mainstream sales. But now those mainstream sales are increasing.

Miller says his brokering business has “absolutely flipped” from CDs to vinyl.

“Although we still do CD production and we have a few in the system now, it’s at least 85- to 90 per cent vinyl. That’s really what carried us,” Miller says.

According to Nielsen SoundScan, Canadian CD sales have dropped precipitously over the last decade but the reverse is true for vinyl. Though record sales are nowhere near CDs, overall there’s an upward trend in vinyl across North America. In 2009, 2.8 million LPs were sold in the U.S., up from a low of 857,000 in 2005.

“There are people who feel that there is actually a better and more organic sound quality that comes from vinyl, as opposed to digital and there are more artists who want to have that option available to listeners,” says Paul Tuch at Nielsen SoundScan, which monitors the sales activity of 14,000 North American retailers.

When vinyl sales slumped over the ’80s and ’90s, many companies sold off their equipment and got out of the business. When the last Canadian pressing plant in Pickering, closed in 2008, many sounded a death knell for the medium. But just a year later, when record sales were at their peak, a new plant opened outside of Montreal. The company, RIP-V, is pressing new material from bands like Arcade Fire, and reissues of older music like Nirvana and Tom Waits.

Brad Davis, 35, has worked at Bloor St. record store Sonic Boom since it opened 10 years ago. Business is so good, the store is opening a second location focusing strictly on vinyl.

Davis says there is no one type of buyer. The demographic is eclectic, just like musical tastes.

“People of all ages are buying LPs. There are the people who never stopped buying it and the people who are just getting into it and are really excited about it,” Davis says. Though the store has a huge stock of older and second-hand titles, more and more new releases sell on vinyl.

“There are some titles we will sell more on LP than CD, which in the past hadn’t been the case,” he said.

Some customers are even buying records to replace the CDs they bought to replace their records.

“It’s a strange cycle,” said Davis. Some of the increase in sales and interest may come from major labels catching onto the trend.

“The fact that the new Adele record is selling hand over fist on LP, you can’t really call that a hipster thing, if it’s the biggest record in the country and No.1 on Billboard,” he says.

At the Record Jacket Corp., an upward tick in vinyl sales is no hipster fad but the spread of collector culture to the mainstream. And maybe a backlash against the intangible quality of digital music.

“I don’t know when I downloaded anything. But I do remember when I found every rare 7-inch of a band that I loved,” Cousineau says.

“The history of the music is contained in vinyl. That’s what makes me go buy those records,” Miller says.

Conversations with a Vinyl Record Guru


Conversations with a Vinyl Record Guru

Conversations with a Vinyl Record Guru

Posted by Jamie_Williams on Jul 05, 2011

Meet David Read, one of the characters featured in this week’s Extended Play Podcast .

David’s life has revolved around the vinyl record since as long as he can remember; he’s been a collector forever, landed his first job at a record store in a local mall, done retail, distribution, management, marketing – and any other job you can think of that relates to the format.

In 2005, David started Vinyl Record Guru, a company that has grown so successful, it now produces hundreds of thousands of records per year for clients all over North America.

I travelled to the small city of Nanaimo to sit down with the guru and gain a glimpse into a life that’s been built on the foundations of an undying love for those ageless discs of wax.


Photo Slideshow:


Chocolate Records

Band release edible and playable chocolate record

275x250.jpg A Scottish band have released what’s thought to be the world’s first edible and playable chocolate record. And it’s said to taste as good as it sounds.

Edinburgh-based three-piece ‘Found’ worked with a local baker to produce the chocolate disk version of their single ‘Anti Climb Paint’ which can be played in any record player.

After several weeks of trial and error, baker Ben Milne was able to make the working chocolate record by using the same negative metal templates used to produce vinyl versions.

While you will only get around ten ‘recognisable’ plays out of the record before it wears down, you can always munch it. And even the sleeve and label are edible having been made from rice paper and icing sugar respectively.

Ben, of the Fisher & Donaldson bakery, reckons people will get around 10 plays from the record before it wears down. Of course once it has worn out you can always eat it.

Ben added: “I heard that vinyl is on the increase and that CDs are on their way out, so chocolate records could be part of a resurgence and people getting their record players out of their attics.”

Unfortunately only fifty of the chocolate 7″ singles are being produced.

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Vinyl @ Art Basel–Artists–Record–The-Versatility/C908A32B0033B0C6

On the (Artists) Record: The Versatility of Vinyl at Art Basel
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Artists Records;

Hailed as a platform for cutting-edge works by contemporary artists, the special exhibitions sector of Art Basel welcomes back Artists Records for its 4th year. Since 2007, the Artists Records program has been a unique highlight of the fair, featuring a multitude of artists records that are both innovative displays of art history and visual treats in themselves. The Artists Records project emphasizes the growing range of media implemented by artists in contemporary art, while also highlighting the rich history implicit of past eras.

The vinyl record is the centerpiece of Artists Records, which has become an archetype of the 20th century, due to its multiple uses and implications in the world of art and music. For years, artists have enjoyed the versatility of the vinyl record, as a cutting-edge canvas or unique medium in creating contemporary works. The added benefits of cheap production costs, ease of distribution, and the many ways to exploit the uses of the record – from pressing, printing, and recording – make this object an ideal tool for artistic expression.

Art historian and contemporary art editor Lionel Bovier was chosen to curate this innovative sector of the fair. In association with John Armleder and Ecart/Villa Magica Records (Geneva), Bovier, in conjunction with Stéphane Kropf and Benjamin Valenza, gathered the creations of numerous artists and set up a literal “record shop” chock-full of items from the collections of artists and editors. Recently, spoke with Bovier in an exclusive interview, and the curator detailed what’s in store for this year’s Artists Records.

This is Art Records fourth year at Art Basel. How has this project evolved since its inception?

In 2005, Art Basel began devoting part of its exhibition space (in the context of Art Unlimited) to a very special kind of object: the artist’s book. Recognizing that the media and formats used by artists are constantly developing, Samuel Keller, then Director of Art Basel, asked me to stage a survey of this unusual field of work. After an initial panorama of the artist’s book in the 21st century (2005) and an exhibition showcasing the “small press scene” of the 1960s and ‘70s (in 2006), the 2007 project focused on Artist Records. The new management, Annette Schönholzer and Marc Spiegler, liked this project and proposed to run it simultaneously and additionally to the Artists’ Books one in 2008. I’ve initiated the first project with John Armleder and Ecart/Villa Magica Records (Geneva), and since then continued to do so, but the real person in charge is the artist Stéphane Kropf, who, in collaboration with Benjamin Valenza, deals with the shop on a yearly basis.

What has been the public’s response? Can you describe the goal of the project?

For the past two years, we’ve associated the two projects, Artists’ Books and Artists’ Records, in a booth that migrated a bit within Art Unlimited. The public’s reactions are great and we now have our regulars. The project assembles works by numerous artists and also consists in maintaining a “shop” with stocks supplied by record publishers, galleries, and the artists themselves. This provides visitors with access to an emblematic art form while at the same time encouraging the renewed dissemination – in the special, temporally limited framework of the show – of projects emerging from it.

Artists Records;

What was the inspiration for the idea behind Art Records?

As a 20th century artifact, the vinyl record is heavy with symbolism, and various of its features have prompted a host of artists to employ it as an artistic medium: its comparatively inexpensive production costs, ease of distribution, and undeniable conceptual qualities. In the first show, the decision to present works by only a very few artists was aimed at generating a more systematic interpretation of these various themes and illustrating that artists exploit every single aspect of the vinyl disc – from recording possibilities to covers, from pressing to printing, from audio to visual.

Can you give some specific examples of how artists have used the vinyl record in different genres of art?

A case in point was, for instance, the series of nine 45 rpm records created by Jack Goldstein in 1976 on the basis of sound effects used by Hollywood film studios: the wind dying away (“Dying Wind”), the crash of falling trees (“Three Felled Trees”), and the roar of a tornado (“The Tornado”) are early attempts at Appropriation art. Christian Marclay explores the various qualities of the platter-shaped object in his famous “Record without a Cover” (a sleeveless record that develops individually as it is subjected to wear), one-sided records, records with spiral grooves, or with the help of pick-ups repositioned on the turntable. Rodney Graham’s dual focus on music and films since the 1970s has had a very productive effect on his record productions: the pieces he composes and plays slot into the narrative world of his visual work. For Jutta Koether, as for Steven Parrino, with whom she has frequently collaborated in concert and on record, rock music is likewise inseparably connected with the painting, film, and installation work – different techniques whose mutual enrichment is the linchpin in a relationship to the world. Genesis P-Orridge embodies the musical side of this relationship: amid the radical cultural movements of 1960s and ‘70s Britain, he founded a performance group, Coum Transmissions, subsequently enjoying a successful career in the punk-rock scene with Throbbing Gristle and later with Psychic TV. In the 1990s, many artists turned to electronic music as a supplementary, parallel, or principal form of artistic production: for example, Carsten Nicolai, whose Raster-Noton label is a very active arena for electronic minimalism, uses processed digital sounds to compose works that are equally effective as sculptures and installations in questioning the creative potential of the codes that surround us.

What types of works are in this year’s Artists Records exhibit?

After this initial exhibition we continued to develop relationships with contemporary producers, collectors, and sellers, and built this unique resource as a “pop-up” shop that only exists for a week in the Basel art fair. So now we have hundreds and hundreds of artist’s records, tapes, CDs, etc. It goes from Yves Klein’s recording of the void to New Humans’ latest releases, passing through Marclay’s, Yoko Ono’s, or Cage’s famous records, but as well Tobias Bernstrup’s, the whole program of Christmas music by Villa Magica Records, and so many other things… Come visit!


Written by Staff