In rotation: 1/13/22

Nashville, TN | How much did vinyl music sales grow in 2021? (Hint: a lot) Another year marks another high note struck by vinyl album sales. Vinyl sales in the U.S. increased from 21.5 million units in 2020 to 41.7 million units last year, according to a 2021 report from MRC Data-Billboard, a media consumption company formerly know as Nielsen-SoundScan. Last year, vinyl albums — once considered an niche format sidelined by streaming services and digital downloads — accounted for more than half of all physical music sales in the U.S. for the first time since MRC-SoundScan began tracking data in 1991. According to the report, vinyl moved enough units last year to surpass 2020 sales totals by late September, weeks before Adele released her chart-topping album “30” and holiday shopping took center stage. To boil down the year-by-year increase into one week: In late December 2021, vinyl hit a weekly high in the MRC-SoundScan era with the organization reporting 2.11 million units sold. That week eclipses a seven-day total that previously peaked in late December 2020 at 1.842 million.

Braselton, GA | Carden Records spinning vinyl in downtown Braselton: Tables are turning at a textured, nostalgic decibel in downtown Braselton, harking the open doors of Carden Records — North Georgia’s newest source for new and used vinyl, CDs and cassette tapes. The namesake of owner John Carden, the record store is the first of eight tenants to officially open inside The 1904 formerly known as the Braselton Brothers department store. “I told my wife, ‘Vinyl’s coming back; now would be a good time to figure out how to open a store,’” he said. “Younger kids are getting into vinyl now; it’s kind of cool to watch them do the same thing that I do even now, listening to vinyl instead of streaming music.” While streaming is convenient here in the digital age, Carden noted there’s a prevailing resistance to those platforms in favor of supporting artists’ livelihood. ” Fans are starting to figure out that if they buy physical copies of music again, it supports the artist that they like more so than picking up your phone and paying them a percentage of a dollar for every time you play a song.”

West Yorkshire, UK | Grind and Groove bring back pleasures of vinyl: “We are always presently surprised when we have youngsters coming in asking for David Bowie.” Not only do teens want to listen to a star who was probably on their parents’ playlist decades before, but they want to hear him on vinyl – a choice which thrills Gareth and Kerry Beck. “They come in and ask for The Beatles, Kiss, or other music from the past – it’s great to see,” says Gareth, who with his wife runs Grind and Groove records in Keighley, our T&A Trader of the Week. Figures released last year by the British Phonographic Industry found that sales of vinyl records in the UK were the highest since the early 1990s, and had grown for the 13th year running. “Colour vinyl always add an element of surprise and excitement to the purchases – if it’s a splatter vinyl what will it look like? What colours will it have? It’s like Christmas opening up shrink wrap, seeing what it looks like and ultimately finding out that it sounds just as good as a standard black vinyl,” says Gareth, who was born in Otley but grew up in Australia.

Album Buyers Keep It Old School: While overall album sales have gradually declined in the United States over the past decade as music consumption shifted to streaming services, vinyl LPs have gained popularity as a physical token in the digital age. Between 2007 and 2021, album sales dropped from 501 million to 109 million according to MRC Data. LP sales, meanwhile climbed from 2.5 million to 41.7 million, making vinyl the big winner of the streaming age (next to streaming services obviously). As the following chart shows, CD sales in particular have dropped precipitously over the past decade, while the age of digital albums was cut short by the advent of streaming services. Interestingly, LP sales surpassed both CD and digital album sales last year, making vinyl records the most popular format outside of streaming services. While the album has been losing relevance in recent years as streaming services pushed playlist-based listening, some music fans still value the work that some artists put into creating a coherent piece of art.

Ypsilanti, MI | Find a cool album and cocktail at this unique Ypsilanti bar: WaxBar not only has an vast collection of vinyl records, but a music-based cocktail menu. Have you ever heard of a record store and a bar being all in one place? It might sound like a dream come true, because there is a such a place! WaxBar in Ypsilanti’s Depot Town has walls of vinyl records ready for purchase, and a full bar where you can chill as you check out the albums. WaxBar was opened by a restauranteur/music lover who wanted to combine two of his favorite things, and when the perfect space became available, he opened the eclectic store. Bar manager, Brian Guerrier, said the WaxBar has just about any and all genres of music, from punk rock to Motown and R&B. The store is always searching for different styles of music and musicians to highlight, but Brian says the classics from rock to doo-wop, tend to sell the best. The intimate setting of chairs and couches make it easy for friends and strangers to sit down and have deep conversations about the music that surrounds them.

Best vinyl record storage 2022: How to keep your records safe and sound: More of us are collecting vinyl these days, but where do you put all your records? Here’s our pick of the best vinyl record storage solutions – from crates to wall-mounted display ideas. While we all love spinning our vinyl on some of the best record players on the market, there’s something strangely therapeutic about organising your LPs and storing them properly to keep them in tip-top condition. And to do that, choosing the best vinyl record storage is pretty much essential. After all, we don’t want our collection to sit looking unloved in the corner of a room, do we? So it’s time to show your wax some respect, regardless of whether you’re spinning supermarket-bought reissues or investing your hard-earned cash into an enviable collection of valuable vinyl records. You can go to town on vinyl record storage, too, sitting records in crates and vintage-style carriers, or stacking them inside a record player console unit. Fair warning though, once armed with some vinyl storage you’ll have picked at a big thread: how to organise your vinyl record collection.

Teesside, UK | Can this new pressing plant solve the vinyl crisis? Press On Vinyl, a facility due to open in the new year, has been dubbed “the communist plant of Teesside.” Inside a vast unit in a manufacturing park just outside Middlesbrough, the flag of Cuba hung off a tower of scaffolding. Below it, looking up, stood three men on a floor that had been painted the exact blue of the Tees Transporter Bridge. The flag’s communist connotations “nod to the fact that we want to service everyone in a fair way”, said David Todd, one of the co-directors of Press On Vinyl, a new pressing plant aiming to right the supply crisis in vinyl record manufacturing, which has left the industry struggling to provide artists and customers with vinyl editions of new releases. “No customer will be treat differently,” said his colleague Danny Lowe in a Teesside accent. “…The plant was set up to be part of the solution, not the problem,” said David Hynes, the company’s third director.

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