Vinyl Records and Turntables Make a Comeback

The New York Times reports that vinyl records and turntables have been making a steady resurgence for the past few years, driven by the demand from members of the digital (iPod) generation.

The New York Times reports that vinyl records and turntables have been making a steady resurgence for the past few years, driven by demand from members of the digital generation.  Vinyl’s increased popularity is attributed to factors like sound quality, and the eternal allure of its tangible, collectible form, liner notes, and of course – album art.  It has also created a parallel rebirth for the turntable.

The music industry has noticed and responded, with popular artists like Lady GaGa, 50 Cent and Norah Jones adding vinyl to their new release repertoire.  Vinyl sales have made a small but visible mark within the music industry.

According to the NYT;

Sales of vinyl albums have been climbing steadily for several years, tromping on the notion that the rebound was just a fad. Through late November, more than 2.1 million vinyl records had been sold in 2009, an increase of more than 35 percent in a year, according toNielsen Soundscan. That total, though it represents less than 1 percent of all album sales, including CDs and digital downloads, is the highest for vinyl records in any year since Nielsen began tracking them in 1991.

Beyond holdout, independent record stores – like Earwax in Williamsburg, Brooklyn – even national retailers like Best Buy have noticed and responded to the trend.  The electronics giant started stocking records at its Upper East Side location in New York about a year ago, while a new location in Union Square installed a department named Club Beats, where customers can test out turntables and other equipment traditionally used by DJs to mix music.

Ironically, it’s suggested that video games like Guitar Hero – which have introduced younger music fans to classic rock bands and their nostalgic allure – could be contributing to the curiosity for vinyl – the original format on which many of these classic albums were released.

The lack of portability or immediacy of music on vinyl has little in common with the instant gratification of music on a highly mobile iPod – but for music fans that pride themselves in a music collection, or enjoy a rainy afternoon browsing through records – it may not be a replacement, but a complement to a digital music library.

Wonder if Topps trading cards, Garbage Pail Kids and slam books are next?

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