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Vinyl outsold CDs for the first time since the '80s

Quote
The report indicates that, for the first time since the 1980s, vinyl outsold CDs. Vinyl album sales rose by four percent from the first half of 2019 to $232 million. That accounts for 62 percent of physical revenue during the first six months of the year, but just four percent of the overall revenue from recorded music.
~ https://www.engadget.com/riaa-streaming-vinyl-cds-mid-year-report-153215821.html
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?  ;~)

Re: Vinyl outsold CDs for the first time since the '80s

Reply #1
Its OK
Its only the US, who cares  ;)

But is it physical or revenue sales (The cost Of LPs nowadays vs CDs)


Re: Vinyl outsold CDs for the first time since the '80s

Reply #2
Nice, but there's a little detail:
Quote
streaming accounted for 85 percent of music revenue

Re: Vinyl outsold CDs for the first time since the '80s

Reply #3
Can you imagine being able to travel back in time to the early 80s and telling a yuppie in his luxury apartment that his cherished CD collection he's been carefully amassing and methodically listening to whilst gulping down Chardonnays would be deemed "square" and vinyls would be the fashionista's choice again by the 2020s!?

Old tech is cool... flat earth is a thing... fascists disguised as "the chosen ones" in power again  - sometimes I wonder whether we've taken a detour somewhere in the 2000s and ended up living in an Orwellian alternative future ourselves.  ::)
Listen to the music, not the media it's on.
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Re: Vinyl outsold CDs for the first time since the '80s

Reply #4
Very interesting, especially as this is the first time I have looked at music media market data in nearly 30 years!

A couple of things stand out for me:
* Astonished to see how dominant streaming services have become in relation to outright bought media (physical and digital)
* Even so vinyl has held its market share in value terms for the overall maket
* . . and crushed the competition in outright owned media
* Overall pricing pressure
* . . in all identifiable segments except vinyl where uniquely market value has grown faster than volume
* Surprised total market hasn't been stronger with WFH and people clearly looking for entertainment
* Vinyl clearly the most attractive segment currently given favourable volume and pricing trends





Re: Vinyl outsold CDs for the first time since the '80s

Reply #5
And, most of the vinyl I have seen comes from digital masters!! :)

Re: Vinyl outsold CDs for the first time since the '80s

Reply #6
And, most of the vinyl I have seen comes from digital masters!! :)
That is undoubtedly true, but you know what they say: "the customer is always right" 😎

Re: Vinyl outsold CDs for the first time since the '80s

Reply #7
In online world physical media is a fetish.

Re: Vinyl outsold CDs for the first time since the '80s

Reply #8
And in the real world it's a niche - nothing more nothing less.
Listen to the music, not the media it's on.
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Re: Vinyl outsold CDs for the first time since the '80s

Reply #9
And in the real world it's a niche - nothing more nothing less.
In the real world which you appear to define as something that substantially doesn't exist in any tangible form?

Objectively streaming is a service rather than a product.  And what is happening in the music market appears very similar to the trend in software, where vendors have been trying with great success to move customers away from one off purchases to subscription servives in an attempt to lock them in indefinitely. 

I don't believe that trend is sustainable in the medium term, but if people start returning to outright purchases in any numbers I doubt vinyl can continue to grow market share, or even stand still for that matter.  But for now this is clearly what's hot for both consumers and suppliers, and to argue anything else is to deny reality.


Re: Vinyl outsold CDs for the first time since the '80s

Reply #10
I don't think streaming for services like audio and video is going anywhere, why do you think they aren't sustainable in the medium term? I'm not even sure SAAS isn't sustainable, especially when much of that software is catered to professionals.

Re: Vinyl outsold CDs for the first time since the '80s

Reply #11
I don't think streaming for services like audio and video is going anywhere, why do you think they aren't sustainable in the medium term? I'm not even sure SAAS isn't sustainable, especially when much of that software is catered to professionals.

Streaming was already taking an 85% share of the market defined most broadly in value terms in the 1st half, up from 80% last year.  As such these growth rates simply can't be sustained beyond the magic 100% barrier!

I'd ideally like to understand more about the market share breakdown before commenting with more certainly, but I also have a hunch that recent growth trends are cyclical and susceptible to an economic downturn, which is in my view inescapable.  I suspect many people are just signing up to this sort of thing without giving it too much thought, but if they start to feel the economic pinch they will start to look much more closely at this sort of non-essential fixed expenditure.  Which should be less of an issue for outright putchases, since this is more of a deliberate purchasing decision.

FWIW, I suspect the situation and demand drivers are slightly different in software.  I haven't been following that market too closely either but it seems to me demand in the last 5 years or so has also been driven by somewhat exceptional factors such as the move to 4K video I don't see replicated soon.  And when the economy turns down everybody simply becomes more cost conscious generally, with unnecessary fixed costs the first to go.

Re: Vinyl outsold CDs for the first time since the '80s

Reply #12
By "online" I didn't mean streaming only, but also files that you download and store for offline playback - that's what you buy these days if you listen to music. These days you buy CDs only if you also need a feast for your eyes or hands... and you buy vinyl if you're a hipster :P

Re: Vinyl outsold CDs for the first time since the '80s

Reply #13
By "online" I didn't mean streaming only, but also files that you download and store for offline playback - that's what you buy these days if you listen to music. These days you buy CDs only if you also need a feast for your eyes or hands... and you buy vinyl if you're a hipster :P

In fact the digital download segment of the market fell to $351m from $451m the year before.

At the same time Vinyl sales grew modestly from $224m to $232m growing the market share in outright purchased from 24% to 32%, but CD sales also plunged from $248m to $130m.

So the overall purchased market fell by $210m to $727m, with that and then some shifting to subscription services, where despite this growth unit revenues fell presumably reflecting fierce price competition.

Speaking of which I use Google Music somewhat, and see that is up for the chop to be somehow replaced by Youtube; does anybody know more about how that transition will work?

Re: Vinyl outsold CDs for the first time since the '80s

Reply #14
@Groove  Re: Google Play Music:  
They are leaving the selling market.  They are entirely killing buying music from Google Play store and they "migrate" your bought content to Youtube Music as "uploaded content". 
So you are basically left with the free service with ads, or the monthly subscription service of music that you cannot download offline, except for using it on youtube music, for a limited time (less than a month).

It feels a bit as a spotify now.

Re: Vinyl outsold CDs for the first time since the '80s

Reply #15
They are leaving the selling market.  They are entirely killing buying music from Google Play store and they "migrate" your bought content to Youtube Music as "uploaded content". 
Thanks Jaz.  Do you know if they are shutting down the ability to upload your own music?  And whether your own music transferred across to Youtube becomes publicly searchable and accessible?

 

Re: Vinyl outsold CDs for the first time since the '80s

Reply #16
In fact the digital download segment of the market fell to $351m from $451m the year before.

At the same time Vinyl sales grew modestly from $224m to $232m growing the market share in outright purchased from 24% to 32%, but CD sales also plunged from $248m to $130m.

So the overall purchased market fell by $210m to $727m, with that and then some shifting to subscription services, where despite this growth unit revenues fell presumably reflecting fierce price competition.
All the numbers look legit - downloads being on top, vinyl being expensive, increasing number of hipsters, CDs getting obsolete, etc :)

Re: Vinyl outsold CDs for the first time since the '80s

Reply #17
And in the real world it's a niche - nothing more nothing less.
 In the real world which you appear to define as something that substantially doesn't exist in any tangible form?
It does. But you know such market is being kept alive more by its hobbyists' stubbornness/deep pockets (hipsters and the like, as rutra put it) than by any kind of innovation itself - which for any technology is something as unstable as the elation I'm certain luddites in the 19th century felt after wrecking another piece of cotton mill machinery.

Anyone could tell then and can now such "dances of victory" are not bound to last.
Listen to the music, not the media it's on.
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Re: Vinyl outsold CDs for the first time since the '80s

Reply #18
It's of course a serious disaster that vinyl is outselling CD. The only reason this is happening is because with vinyl, due to technical reasons (or technical limitations of the vinyl format, which in this case happens to be a good thing -- for vinyl), the record companies can't destroy the dynamic range of the music albums (and singles) they're selling, in order to make the music sound louder (aka the Loudness Wars). With CD and digital downloads, the record companies aren't limited by this restriction because CDs and lossless/lossy codecs aren't restricted to a specific loudness level, so with CD, DVD-Audio and so on, they can destroy the dynamic range just to make albums sound louder, and they have been doing so since the 90s. As such, vinyl while clearly an inferior format as far as sound quality and dynamic range are concerned, ironically have better dynamic range than CD today, mostly so anyway, although they've been trying to downgrade the dynamic range of vinyl as well in recent years, but due to technical differences from digital, they can't downgrade the dynamic range of vinyl to the same extent as they have done with CDs. This is quite ironic in any case as CD is definitely a superior format for sound quality and dynamic range compared to vinyl. While vinyl may have the full 192kHz frequency and CD only has 44.1kHz, that doesn't matter because we can't hear above 20kHz anyway, so CD is still far above the human hearing range.

Anyway, it's a sad day for us who care about music quality, that vinyl is outselling CD. Of course vinyl isn't outselling digital music in general (which CD is part of), but the issue here is that modern CDs are mastered with loudness in mind, whereas vinyl isn't and can't be due to technical limitations, which again is a good thing for vinyl but it's not a good thing for music in general, because CD and digital audio is a cleaner sound with superior dynamic range. Here's a good article about this issue:

The audible consequence has been that the 'volume' of pop, rock and other music recorded and released on commercial CDs has risen steadily since the late 1980s, with a corresponding reduction in dynamics and, in many cases, a trend towards a more aggressive and fatiguing sound character — all in an attempt to make each track as loud as or louder than the perceived competition. It's bewildering to think that the audio format that offered the greatest dynamic range potential ever made available to the consumer is now routinely used to store music deliberately processed with the least possible dynamic range in the history of recorded music!
https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/end-loudness-war

Point is, the only reason vinyl is outselling CD is because most people today don't buy their music on physical storage media, and the few who do, buy vinyl because they know that the record companies haven't been monkeying with the dynamic range to the same extent as they do with their CD versions.
Codec enthusiast!

Re: Vinyl outsold CDs for the first time since the '80s

Reply #19
It's of course a serious disaster that vinyl is outselling CD.
 
 
No it ain't. CD had a happy life and is dying peacefully. Vinyl is alive thanks to the insistence of mostly fashionistas and placebophiles who won't just let go of it, as it is the case with many surpassed technologies.

Also, regarding the "better" dynamic range, I think you should give our wiki a good read:

https://wiki.hydrogenaud.io/index.php?title=Myths_(Vinyl)#Myth:_Vinyl_sounds_better_than_CD
Listen to the music, not the media it's on.
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Re: Vinyl outsold CDs for the first time since the '80s

Reply #20
Also, regarding the "better" dynamic range, I think you should give our wiki a good read:

https://wiki.hydrogenaud.io/index.php?title=Myths_(Vinyl)#Myth:_Vinyl_sounds_better_than_CD
I think you should tone done the hyperbole and read what he wrote more carefully!

Looking at some of the comments on this board, you would think during the golden years of the music recording industry powered by vinyl, turntable owners and FM radio listeners were chained up or placed in stocks to secure them firmly in place while they were subjected to the unspeakable torture of listening to records!  LOL

Fact is CDs are old and mature technology too.  Ignoring the odd bit of crackle and pop, basic audio technology bumped up against the limits of human hearing a long time ago, as many here go to such lengths to rightly point out to those making extravagant claims about giant leaps forward.

None of this is cutting edge stuff, and going on about who won the "war" is about as relevant to daily life today as who won WWII!

Re: Vinyl outsold CDs for the first time since the '80s

Reply #21
No it ain't. CD had a happy life and is dying peacefully.
It's not that I'm opposed to the death of CD, it's that CD is a technically superior format when compared to vinyl, and vinyl is possibly going to survive CD. This is indeed not only a problem, but a disaster. CD is a good standard. Doesn't mean we have to have CD around until the next millennium, but why go backwards with storing and playing music? Music is not only human culture but also history. We should record and store music in the highest quality formats available. It's like retiring Blu-Ray and going back to VHS or something, lol.

Streaming is lossy crap anyway, but thankfully we can still buy music in lossless digital files (FLAC and so on), for now anyway. Problem is the hypercompressed dynamic range when buying lossless digital files online. That's the real issue here, and why vinyl is still around and thriving, because they don't master vinyl for loudness to the same extent as they do with CD and FLAC albums and so on. It wasn't always the case that the record companies hypercompressed the dynamic range for CD though; back in the 80s and early 90s, almost all CD albums were properly mastered with great dynamic range. Then as computer software became advanced enough, they began destroying the dynamic range of almost all CDs produced just to get a louder sound, starting from the mid 90s and worsened after around 2000 or so (and today, the dynamic range of pretty much every newly released and remastered CD/digital album is a joke). This is why people are buying vinyl, because with vinyl, studio albums are still generally mostly properly mastered, and when they aren't mastered well with the dynamic range, it's just not as bad as it is with modern CDs. This creates a false impression that vinyl is a high definition format and has a superior sound quality and far higher reslution and dynamic range compared to CD, because most young people in their teens and early 20s and so on, haven't heard the old, original albums released in the 1980s, so their impression is that vinyl sounds better than CD, when in actuality, it's because the record companies are purposely destroying the dynamic range for the CD version, whereas they can't do this for the vinyl version.

Vinyl is alive thanks to the insistence of mostly fashionistas and placebophiles who won't just let go of it, as it is the case with many surpassed technologies.
Yeah exactly, so why should vinyl survive CD, when CD is clearly a superior storage medium for music? Again, I'm not opposed to the death of CD, but if I had to choose, I'd rather kill off vinyl.

As I was saying, CD is a good standard. Personally I think we need an upgraded standard for music, something like Blu-Ray albums with every track being lossless 24-bit/192kHz and perhaps also 7.1 surround sound and so on (although stereo is good enough, really). If we can't have that, properly mastered CDs with full dynamic range is obviously far better than vinyl.

Also, regarding the "better" dynamic range, I think you should give our wiki a good read:

https://wiki.hydrogenaud.io/index.php?title=Myths_(Vinyl)#Myth:_Vinyl_sounds_better_than_CD
I'm not sure what you're trying to point out with this wiki? It's saying basically exactly what I was saying. Yes, CD definitely has a superior dynamic range compared to vinyl, as stated in the wiki:

The dynamic range of vinyl, when evaluated as the ratio of a peak sinusoidal amplitude to the peak noise density at that sine wave frequency, is somewhere around 80 dB. Under theoretically ideal conditions, this could perhaps improve to 120 dB. The dynamic range of CDs, when evaluated on a frequency-dependent basis and performed with proper dithering and oversampling, is somewhere around 150 dB. Under no legitimate circumstances will the dynamic range of vinyl ever exceed the dynamic range of CD, under any frequency, given the wide performance gap and the physical limitations of vinyl playback. More discussion at Hydrogenaudio.

So... you were saying?

And on top of that, no pops and clicks with CD either, which means a cleaner sound for those of us who put quality above retro nostalgia and similar nonsense.
Codec enthusiast!

Re: Vinyl outsold CDs for the first time since the '80s

Reply #22
Wax cylinders are better sounding. 😂
Format: FLAC

Re: Vinyl outsold CDs for the first time since the '80s

Reply #23
How much vinyl comes with download code these days?

When physical items become merchandise, it isn't that hard to see that a bigger package has an upper hand.
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