These new-fangled 'record' things will never catch on, you know…
According to figures released yesterday by the Entertainment Retailers Association, £2.4M was spent in the UK on vinyl records last week, compared to £2.1M's worth of digital downloads. This is the first time vinyl sales have exceeded digital sales since the 'download era' began in the early 00s.
The turnaround is undoubtedly further evidence of the much-vaunted 'vinyl revival', but don't go deleting all your digital music files just yet... for three reasons.
Firstly, many commentators have pointed out that the shift in market share is as much reflective of a switch from downloading music to streaming by the general public, as it is of any great upsurge in vinyl sales. Secondly, whatever uptick in sales vinyl has seen, can at least in part be attributed to the time of the year, with albums bought as presents representing a significant chunk of overall sales in the run-up to Christmas (although that, too, is partly due to the 'vinyl revival', as more mainstream pop acts embrace the format).
And thirdly, with vinyl albums priced far higher than their digial equivalents, the total value of sales paints only half the picture. Raw sales data, in fact, paints a very different picture: the week in question saw 295,000 albums sold as downloads, compared to just 120,000 on wax.
But the news gives us a warm, glow-y feeling all the same, however illogical a reaction that may be. As ERA head Kim Bayley put it: "This is yet further evidence of the ability of music fans to surprise us all."