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Broken Record: Big Increase In Vinyl Buyers Who Don’t Own A Record Player

26 April 2023 | 2:28 pm | Mary Varvaris

50% of vinyl owners don't actually own a turntable, a new survey shows.

(Pic by Joe Vasquez on Unsplash)

A new report by the music sales company Luminate has showcased the Top Entertainment Trends of 2023 after sharing the results at SXSW in Texas last month, Music Business Worldwide revealed.

The report states that, during the vinyl resurgence, “50% of consumers who have bought vinyl in the past 12 months own a record player, compared to 15% among music listeners overall.” As the results make clear, 50% of people buying vinyl actually don’t own the record player to listen to the music they’re buying.

The results come from a Music 360 survey by Luminate CEO Rob Jonas, which reviewed 3,900 US-based respondents.

A 2020 interview in The Times Of London found that “superfans” were “buying-to-own rather than buying-to-listen”, Rob Crutchley of the UK music trade industry group BPI reported at the time.

Crutchley continued, “A proportion of people are buying vinyl because they’re a superfan, so even if they don’t actually have a turntable, they’re still keen to support the artist and have the artifact itself.

“Sometimes it can be because they’re catalogue titles that are being re-pressed in a new edition — maybe a run on a different coloured vinyl — other times it might be a new title that has a limited press on a certain format.”

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Luminate defined superfans as “music listeners who spend above average (median) time AND money on music, actively discover new music, participate in music-related activities on social media, and plan on attending a live music event in the next 12 months” in its 2023 report.

Earlier this year, vinyl outsold CDs for the first time in 35 years, The Music reported. NME noted that “Vinyl album sales grew 11% to £150.5 million,” as CD album sales “fell 17.4% to £124 million”. The last time vinyl outsold CDs was in 1987.

Vinyl sales surpassed CDs in Australia in 2021, ARIA revealed.

With CD sales dropping in conjunction with the rise of vinyl figures, the two switched places in 2021, with vinyl accounting for the most significant segment in physical sales in Australia at $29.7 million, compared to $24.9 million for CD albums.

In 2020, CD album sales were $30.5 million, slightly higher than vinyl at $29.3 million.

Returning to 2015, the difference between the two was huge: CDs at $77.7 million and vinyl at $18.8 million.