Somewhat surprising news about vinyl from The Guardian:
The format was supposed to have been badly wounded by the introduction of CDs and killed off completely by the ipod-generation that bought music online.
But in a rare case of cheerful news for the record labels, the latest phenomenon in a notoriously fickle industry is one nobody dared predict: a vinyl revival. Latest figures show a big jump in vinyl sales in the first half of this year, confirming the anecdotal evidence from specialist shops throughout the UK.
It comes as sales of CD singles continue to slide - and it is not being driven by technophobic middle-aged consumers. Teenagers and students are developing a taste for records and are turning away from the clinical method of downloading music on to an MP3 player.
The data, released by the UK's industry group BPI, shows that 7in vinyl sales were up 13% in the first half, with the White Stripes' Icky Thump the best seller.
Two-thirds of all singles in the UK now come out on in the 7in format, with sales topping 1m. Though still a far cry from vinyl's heyday in 1979, when Art Garfunkel's Bright Eyes alone sold that number and the total vinyl singles market was 89m, the latest sales are still up more than fivefold in five years.
Bright Eyes? No!
I wouldn't have thought most people would have a record deck. Apparently that isn't a problem:
Retailers and record labels put the rising vinyl sales down to bands rediscovering the format and to music fans' enduring desire to collect. It's not unusual for fans to buy a 7in but have nothing to play it on, says Paul Williams at industry magazine Music Week. "It's about the kind of acts that have very loyal fan bases that want everything to do with that act," he says. "They maybe will buy the download to listen to, but they get the vinyl to own. It's looked at like artwork."
HMV agrees that vinyl is back from the brink, and the chain has been rapidly expanding its record racks to meet rising demand. The group's Gennaro Castaldo cites the huge popularity of "indie" bands, such as Franz Ferdinand and Arctic Monkeys, which enjoy loyal followings among teenagers and students, especially during the summer festival season.
"Labels have realised that it's cool for bands to release their music on vinyl, especially in limited edition form, which makes it highly collectible," he says.
Is this another example of the way that artists can make money in the brave new world of downloads?