Music is such a powerful tool in the world. It isn’t needed to survive but it is really important. There are different ways to play music. Through the radio, record players and more recently through the internet and our phones. Websites such as YouTube and apps such as SoundCloud and Spotify have helped artists of all genres reach out to new audiences. There will be a more in depth look in my next post regarding the emergence of online music and how artists are adapting. However, this particular post will look at the revival of the record player.
In terms of the actual consumer. It’s clear to see that the emergence of digital music and portable music was the reason for the ‘death’ of the record player. They just weren’t viable options for people who were busy and wanted to listen to music wherever they went. It was normal decades ago for households to have a record player for most genres of music. However it’s clear to see that through indie bands who mostly produce records in the modern day that ‘hipsters’ are part of the reason for the revival of the record player. As a result of the rising demand for records from not just hipsters but the general public, record companies are starting to bring back classic records reproduced in the hope that the vinyl industry can increase in popularity more than it has done.
Over the last couple of decades the emergence of new technologies in music have meant that playing music through things such as, record players and tape decks seemed to be over. However, in recent times Record Players have come back into fashion particularly through hipsters and indie music lovers. Statistics show that since 2006, record players have been slowly rising in sales. Why is this? Well a lot of turntables are being designed differently, adding a modernism aspect to them, maybe Bluetooth is available. You can get them in smaller sizes so they take less room up. They can also be designed to look like the old vintage turntables but with modern features so you get the best of both worlds. This way record player retailers will target both the hipster and older generation as their demographics.
So how have artists adapted to this change? Well firstly, there are so many ways for people to access music nowadays and this includes the internet and streaming apps so there is less pressure for records to actually do well because they are available anywhere and sometimes for free. Indie artists have benefited from the revival of the record player because hipsters and indie music lovers are buying vinyls. Reasons for this are because the vinyls are sold as merchandise as well as the music. The records are a collectible. You could get the album on CD for half the price of records and music is available on Spotify for free. Where the artist still gets the benefit of making money through views and advertisements. Therefore it makes sense for artists to sell vinyls as well because of the popularity of them especially in the indie genre of music. Artists make more off of the vinyl sales than they do streaming anyway so there is a benefit to releasing music on records. It is financially proven to benefit the artist to do this which is why artists are taking advantage of the resurgence of record players coming back into fashion.
There is proof that people love physical copies of music over digital, Forbes reports that a recent eBay survey found that 52% of consumers prefer to buy music in a physical form such as CD or vinyl record to digital one. Is digital music really effecting the vinyl music industry that much? In short no. It’s not all about the artists taking advantage. There has to be a reason why Record players are more popular now and why fans want to have their music on record rather than on their phones. I mean it wasn’t that long a go that record players were outdated, boring and if you had one, you weren’t ‘cool’. Why do fans want to spend the money on a record when there are cheaper and easier ways to access it? For the consumer it is all about the the collectible side of it. Imagine having a collectible of your favourite album. The colour, being able to have it for your own. The actual turntables can look really cool and have more features now. It’s more exciting than streaming. It is a way to feel closer to your favourite band and lets face it. It is really cool to have your own records with modern music.