ONCE seen as an antiquated relic to be cast aside in favour of CDs then MP3s, vinyl records are now enjoying a resurgence.
Old-style records are on track to achieve their biggest sales for almost two decades with the number sold expected to pass the million mark by the end of the year.
New figures compiled by the Official Charts Company show that almost 800,000 vinyl albums have been sold in the first nine months of this year, which has already outstripped last year’s total of 780,674.
The last time vinyl – which once looked close to extinction – hit seven-figure sales was in 1996 when 1,083,206 albums were shifted and The Score by Fugees was the year’s biggest long-player.
However, older music is also enjoying a rise in popularity on vinyl, with the top ten best-sellers also including Oasis’s Definitely Maybe – a hit in the mid- 1990s – and albums by 1970s artists such as Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin.
So far this year, AM by the Arctic Monkeys has proved to be the format’s best-seller, closely followed by Lazaretto by Jack White.
John Richardson, owner of music shop Ripping Records in Edinburgh, stopped selling vinyl a decade ago but said he could consider reintroducing it in the wake of its popularity resurgence.
“I would love to go back to having a shop which is just full of records like we used to have, but I don’t think that will ever happen,” he said. “They are lovely things. People see records as almost a piece of furniture – but if a record is the Chippendale, CDs are the equivalent of Ikea.
“In the early Noughties, it was all about quantity over quality and people had been convinced that CDs and MP3s were better than records so threw away all their records and bought them again on CD. Now they are doing the opposite and buying all of their albums back on vinyl again.
“Young people are also getting back into records – though a lot of them buy them to put the sleeve on the wall and hardly ever listen to them.”
The data, released by music industry body the BPI, shows that September has proved to be the busiest month of the year so far with 112,000 vinyl albums sold.
Vinyl albums hit an all-time low in 2007 with only 205,000 copies sold. So far this year, 112 releases have sold in excess of 1,000 copies, more than double the 50 which had done so in the first nine months of last year. Only one of the top-ten vinyl albums for this year was actually released for the first time in 2014 – the self-titled debut album by Royal Blood.
BPI spokeswoman Lynne McDowell said: “Vinyl may once have been considered a by-product of a bygone era but it is now well and truly a flourishing format making a comeback in a digital age. In an increasingly digitised world, it appears that music fans still crave a tangible product that gives them original artwork, high audio quality, and purity of sound.
“Vinyl enthusiasts are now able to enjoy the renaissance of the format with a string of releases being made available on the format from emerging and established acts.”