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Dave James

Vinyl Outselling CD's

44 posts in this topic

 According to today's CNN business report, 2020 marks the first year vinyl has outsold CD's since the 1980's.  From a music industry perspective, I'm not sure if that's good or bad news or if, in this day and age, it's irrelevant. 

https://us.cnn.com/2020/09/13/tech/vinyl-records-cd-sales-riaa/index.html

Edited by Dave James

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Cue disbelief and outrage in equal measure :)

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Apples and oranges, as the comparison is purely based on revenue, and not units sold.

I’d love to see the units sold numbers, side by side - though there’s no denying that CD sales are diminishing.

Personally, I think it’s a crime how much new vinyl costs - over double the price for a less convenient format (for those that do prefer physical media).

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the original report has both, in terms of units the CD is ahead but only slightly (10.2 vs 8.8 million)

https://www.riaa.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Mid-Year-2020-RIAA-Revenue-Statistics.pdf

I also thought that this is a pretty cool tool for visualizing the market evolution of, say, the CD single vs the cassette tape vs the ringtone:

https://www.riaa.com/u-s-sales-database/

 

 

 

I was actually wondering how this revenue split looks by genre, e.g. for something like the Monk Palo Alto album where Universal had to give away everything non-physical to Columbia... for the average album, this would have been an absolute disaster but maybe stuff looks different in the jazz world...

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Sorry PVC fans, but all this report shows is that CD sales continue to decline to the point where they may be eclipsed by vinyl, which itself accounts for only a small fraction of music consumption. Streaming accounts for 78 percent of music consumption in the U.S. compared to physical and digital music sales.

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"to compare music streams to album sales, it is assumed that 1500 streams equal one album sold"... I've bought some cds that I haven't played even 500 times... 5 times...  I will play them all some more ... but 1500 still seems ambitious...

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10 minutes ago, Niko said:

"to compare music streams to album sales, it is assumed that 1500 streams equal one album sold"... I've bought some cds that I haven't played even 500 times... 5 times...  I will play them all some more ... but 1500 still seems ambitious...

And that makes the streaming-to-sold figures more conservative, do they not?

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35 minutes ago, Niko said:

the original report has both, in terms of units the CD is ahead but only slightly (10.2 vs 8.8 million)

There were years in the early/mid-90's when it felt like I was buying 10.2 million Blue Note/OJC CD's during Tower Records all-label sales myself.   One hit CD could sell millions of CD's itself back then (looking at you, Norah Jones)   Sad state of affairs now.

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@sonnymax: yes, of course... since I was 16 or so, my mother has been telling me how classical (her music) is not doing greatly in terms of sales, in terms of an aging audience etc etc but it's still doing a whole lot better than jazz (my music)... and early on I decided I don't care because I never entered this game to win...

Edited by Niko

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From frequenting the Hoffman forum, I see that prices being asked on jazz vinyl is very expensive. I watched portions of a YouTube video yesterday where the participants were discussing jazz vinyl and one of the repressing labels they mentioned was Music Matters. I looked at the MM site and prices were like $80 and up and most of them were sold out. eBay was even worse with prices in the hundreds.

I’m sure the vinyl sounds great but unless you have a top audiophile system, can you really tell the difference. I’m quite content with a Japanese reissue or a RVG cd, or an older vinyl release. 

Edited by Brad

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No turntable - solves a lot of issues.

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1 minute ago, jlhoots said:

No turntable - solves a lot of issues.

But misses a lot of great music. 

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48 minutes ago, Niko said:

@sonnymax: yes, of course... since I was 16 or so, my mother has been telling me how classical (her music) is not doing greatly in terms of sales, in terms of an aging audience etc etc but it's still doing a whole lot better than jazz (my music)... and early on I decided I don't care because I never entered this game to win...

Well, not with that attitude you sure won’t.

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An older friend of mine has gotten so spooked by COVID-19, he called me up a few months ago to tell me he just made up his will to give me all of his vinyl collection. It's packed with original Blue Note records. Maybe they'll be worth something. I never would've believed it.

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I would like to see the demographics.

I am not an investor in a record company, and I don't care what high schoolers (or anyone under 30) are doing.

Are people over 30 spending money on music?  What genre?  What format?  How much money?

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3 minutes ago, GA Russell said:

I would like to see the demographics.

I am not an investor in a record company, and I don't care what high schoolers (or anyone under 30) are doing.

Are people over 30 spending money on music?  What genre?  What format?  How much money?

If you think that only people under 30 are interested in vinyl, you’re mistaken.  I can only go by anecdotal experience but when I go to record shops, the vast majority are over 30. The same applies to estate sales. 

Edited by Brad

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This is about artifacts, not music.

 

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I still do not understand why someone would purchase an expensive vinyl record cut from a digital master.  Is that not just a cd on vinyl?  I can understand purchasing an all-analog vinyl recording new or old.

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7 minutes ago, sonnyhill said:

I still do not understand why someone would purchase an expensive vinyl record cut from a digital master.  Is that not just a cd on vinyl?  I can understand purchasing an all-analog vinyl recording new or old.

Music Matters, which feature BN, are made using the original masters. Can’t speak for anyone else. 

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10 minutes ago, Brad said:

Music Matters, which feature BN, are made using the original masters. Can’t speak for anyone else. 

I would not be too sure about that.

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I wonder if people even know what they're hearing, I mean, ok, you're hearing a "record", you're hearing "music", but what is your point/frame of reference for even knowing that that is. How do you know?

So yeah, ok, something "sounds better" than something else, but what the hell does that mean, really? You know, not even players are 100% allt he time about what sounds what, so now you got people who have never heard a big band in a meaningful way or a bebop combo in a meaningful way or a string quartet in a meaningful way, you get the idea, so why the hell does anybody care what they think "sounds better"? What the hell are they hearing, I don't know and maybe don't want to know, I mean, I figured out Yesterdays' New Quintet and that was a revelation that I need to only have once. Once was delightful, but yeah, one gotten, let it go.

Chuk is right, this is about artifacts, objects, I own therefore I hear. What is that in Latin?

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I do find it extremely droll to watch Millennials (and it does mostly seem to be them driving the recent push to put pop/rock and even punk bands out on vinyl) buying up these new releases and then getting extremely tense when they can't find the download card (since they are actually planning to listen to the music on their phones and tables).  :g

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1 hour ago, Chuck Nessa said:

This is about artifacts, not music.

Completely agree, Chuck.  But what does really concern me is the possibility that increasingly more and more brand new, "previously unreleased" Historical Album re-issues (really, "first-issues") -- may at some point only be available as LP's or downloads (with no CD option).

There's a fantastic-looking 5-sided 3LP first-issue of a live Nathan Davis date from ~1968 -- which I would buy in a heartbeat on CD (even at a bit of a premium price).  But it's ONLY available on LP, and I (presume) as a download.

The original price seems to have been $60 (ouch!!), or even $80 (youch!!!), for 3LP's.

$60 list: https://rollinrecs.com/nathan-davis-georges-arvanitas-trio-live-in-paris/

$80 list: https://elusivedisc.com/nathan-davis-with-georges-arfvanitas-trio-live-in-paris-the-ortf-recordings-1966-67-180g-3lp/

I would gladly have paid $25 or even $30 for a 2CD version (which, frankly, is fairly high for CD's these days).  But there was NO option to even buy it on CD.

It's bad enough that some titles are download only, but it's only adding insult to injury to limit releases to 23-minutes of music, and hamstrung by having to reorder set-lists, or sequencing to "fit" the LP format -- when the CD obviates all those rather limiting factors.

Edited by Rooster_Ties

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3 hours ago, Brad said:

But misses a lot of great music. 

Had 20,000+ vinyl LPs back in the day. Sold most of them nationally & internationally. Gave the last 300 away. Still have more than enough music to listen to.

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