5 Towns Where Records Still Rule
Don't get us wrong, vinyl is still a thin sliver of the much larger recording industry. Of the 316 million albums sold last year, a scant 4.6 million were on vinyl. Yet Nielsen Soundscan
It's no fluke, either. Since 2009, sales of vinyl records have grown by nearly 2.1 million albums and by nearly 15% each year. During that same time, total album sales have dropped from 376 million, while combined physical album sales have fallen below 200 million for the first time ever.
That's not enough to undo all the damage vinyl and its purveyors have suffered throughout the years. Record stores saw their revenue tumble by 76% since 2000 to $2 billion, according to market research firm IBISWorld. That group estimates that record stores will lose another 40% of sales by 2016. Vinyl's still a large, cumbersome, decidedly nonportable music format in a digital world with little use for those traits.
Those recent sales spikes elevated vinyl from a thrift-store find to an honored portion of music collections throughout the U.S., though. You may buy a $1.99 digital single of the moment or download the full $8 to $10 album if you're really into it, but record buyers save that honor for the albums they truly praise or the ephemera they just can't find online. That's prompted labels such as Warner
So where should you be if you want to get your hands on a Mark Lanegan/Moby single, a Black Keys/The Stooges 7" version of No Fun or any of the other special-edition releases headed to record stores that day? If your town is trapped in a sea of discs and downloads, let us recommend five places across the country where record stores not only live, but thrive: