In rotation: 1/12/23

UK | Vinyl outsells CD for first time in 35 years: Vinyl album sales grew to £150.5million in 2022, as CD album sales fell to £124million. Vinyl has outsold CD for first time in 35 years, according to figures released by the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA). Overall music sales increased by three per cent in 2022 to almost £2billion, which is the highest figure since 2003 and nearly double the level of their low point in 2013. According to the published figures, physical sales did fall slightly by 3.8 per cent to £280.4million, but levelled out as the vinyl format showed sustained growth while CD declined. Vinyl album sales grew 11 per cent to £150.5million, while CD album sales, in contrast, fell 17.4 per cent to £124million—the first time vinyl outsold CD by value since 1987.

Jackson, MS | A Mississippi record and comic store deals with the January “dead zone.” For Phillip Rollins, owner of the record and comic store OffBeat in Jackson, Mississippi, January brings the doldrums. “It’s either you’re getting returns, or it’s like dead zone,” Rollins said. “So January and the summer tend to be my most hated months for me personally, because it’s just so slow.” Rollins, who recently relocated to a new storefront in downtown Jackson, had a good holiday retail season. …But coming out of the summer, he’s had to deal with an issue that’s been top of mind since last year: inflation. And Rollins isn’t alone. In December, nearly a third of small businesses said they were concerned about inflation, according to the Small Business Optimism Index, a monthly survey put out by the National Federation of Independent Business.

Portishead, UK | Portishead Oxfam shop to make most of increasing vinyl sales: Portishead’s Oxfam shop has seen an increase in vinyl sales as they mark their 75th anniversary. The shop’s manger, Helen Mason, is eager to meet the challenge of rising demand head on: “our challenge is the meet the growing demand for second-hand vinyl with a steady stream of donations. We love finding new homes for neglected vinyl while generating income to support Oxfam’s work around the world”. Oxfam’s vinyl sales is reflected nationwide. A year on from hitting a 30-year high, UK record sales hit £116.8 million in 2022, next to CD sales of £98.3 million. Andrew Hadley, a vinyl enthusiast volunteering at Portishead’s Oxfam shop, explained how the vinyl is carefully restored: “we use a special vacuum cleaner and bespoke cleaning solutions before playing each record so it can be graded.” This ensures that the vinyl sold is of high quality.

Saint Petersburg, FL | Explore the World’s Largest Collection of Vinyl Records Here in Florida: In today’s world, music can be bought in a second on your smartphone. But for some of us, nothing will beat shopping for records in person, at a store, and listening to music the old-fashioned way–on a record player. If you’re a music lover who appreciates a bit of nostalgia, you’re definitely going to want to check out this epic vinyl record warehouse in St. Petersburg. Bananas Records can be found on 16th Ave in the North Kenwood neighborhood of St. Pete. The sprawling warehouse has been in business for nearly 50 years now and is known as the largest vinyl retailer in the entire world. Bananas currently boasts over 3 million records within their 11,000 sq foot warehouse. They also have a smaller 7,000-square-foot store that is also located in St. Petersburg. You’ll find a massive selection of records here that range in style, genre, and year of release.

Scientists create world’s smallest records—so tiny it can barely be seen by the human eye: Measuring 15×15 micrometres it can play 25 seconds of ‘Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree’ Scientists in Denmark have created the world’s smallest “vinyl” record, which is so tiny that it can barely be seen by the naked human eye. Measuring just 15×15 micrometres, with grooves of a depth of just 65 nanometres – the tiny record plays 25 seconds of ‘Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree’ in stereo, per EDM. In a YouTube video demonstrating the making process, Postdoc Nolan Lassaline at DTU Physics at the Technical University of Denmark explained that the record was “so small that the entire thing we’re patterning can fit within one single groove of a regular vinyl record”. It uses DTU Physics’s Nanofrazer Scholar 3D lithography system, and prints the grooves of the record into polymer film. Professor Peter Nøggild explained that although they are unlikely to be mass-producing minute music anytime soon, the technology could be critical in future scientific research.

Eric Prydz ‘Opus’ vinyl sells for $2,105 on Discogs: Following the sale of a vinyl copy of Eric Prydz‘ iconic ‘Opus‘ on Discogs for $2000 last June, another copy has just sold for an even higher price of $2105 back in November, as just revealed by the website. Not long ago, music selling and information database website Discogs published a blog post about November 2022’s most expensive sales of that month, and a familiar name pops up in the top 25 list, that being Eric Prydz. Back in 2016, a limited edition pressing of the album ‘Opus’ was put on sale, and with it being incredibly limited to only 500 individually numbered and signed copies, its no surprise as to why resale demand prices are skyrocketing. This isn’t the first time a copy of this very album has made the expensive sales lists either. Back in August of last year, Discogs posted a list of most expensive items sold in June, and ‘Opus’ made the list at a sale price of $2000. This time, the sale price exceeds this.

Low’s Reissue Woes Reflect a Recording Industry Uncaring of Its Creators: Of their early material, long out of print, the band’s Alan Sparhawk says, “[UMG] won’t give the rights back. We’ve asked.” Between the selling off of song catalogues, righteous re-recording aims and streaming royalty rates remaining criminally meagre, recent years have given music listeners a greater glimpse of major industry machinations concerning ownership and creative control artists hold over their work. However, not every artist holds the cultural cachet (to say nothing of net worth) of megastars like Taylor Swift, so what are smaller songwriters to do when dealing with corporate behemoths? For Low’s Alan Sparhawk, the answer could be mounting public pressure, following his illumination of the pitfalls of continued record label oligopoly, and how historical contracts don’t make for a fair deal in the present in answering a fan’s question about the group’s earliest material on Wednesday (January 4). Urged by a Twitter user to treat Low’s 1994 full-length debut I Could Live In Hope to a reissue, the vocalist-guitarist shared that Universal Music Group (UMG) “won’t give the rights back.”

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