7th June 2021: Ahead of the biggest event in the record collecting calendar this weekend, more than 140 participating Record Store Day stores took part in a survey about their customers – and two thirds of them reported that they had seen a considerable rise in the number of younger people getting into vinyl.
Jack LeFeuvre, who opened Le Freak Records in Dundee when he was 23 said “We see lots of young people buying vinyl in our store and I think it's slowly becoming a norm in terms of how people want to listen to music nowadays. Nearly every artist will release a special vinyl edition as part of their album campaign and that is something that many music fans don’t want to miss out on. I think people got fed up and frustrated with everything becoming ‘digital’ and if you love an artist there’s nothing more exciting than being able to hold the artwork, read the liner notes and enjoy the experience of listening to an album from start to finish. When we first opened we were always asked if it was a fad but it’s popularity has only continued to rise and proved the naysayers wrong”.
And the age of vinyl buyers is not the only thing changing, as more than 60% of record store owners also reported growing numbers of women coming into their stores and enjoying the vinyl experience.
Ashlie Green from David’s Music in Letchworth, said “Record shops have had a history of being fairly male dominated spaces – but the Hi Fidelity-esque days are definitely over as more and more women are enjoying vinyl. Not only are there more women behind the counter but the spaces themselves are much more welcoming to all people of all ages. Record Store Day is a great driver for that too is that list of releases is so eclectic and brings in music lovers from every background for what is normally a big party!”.
The vinyl revival in 2021
Record Store Day is the annual event that celebrates the unique culture of independent record stores and the art of vinyl. Now in its 14th year, it is often described as the catalyst behind the vinyl revival.
When Record Store Day first began in 2007, only 75,000 vinyl albums were sold in the UK, but jump ahead to 2020, that number has rocketed to over 5m units and over £110 million in value.
Vinyl continues to enjoy it 13th consecutive year of growth in the UK with sales in January to May of this year alone topping more than 1.8m vinyl albums and surpassing a spend of over £40m – that’s up over 46% compared with 2020. This surge is most likely being driven by a nation being locked inside and having more time than ever before to reconnect with the art and music they love.
The trend is looking likely to continue too – as more and more people are investing in turntables and more advanced audio equipment at home.
Giles Pocock, Vice-President of Brand Marketing, Bowers & Wilkins, said “With the surge in vinyl sales, we have seen increased interest in our loudspeakers, as fans seek heightened listening experiences for their music. It's great to see new audiences getting into vinyl, and we're proud to support the independent record stores who play a vital role in bringing music to fans in their local communities.
(Images: Left - A Slice of Vinyl, Right: Assai Records)
Record Store Day
Due to ongoing social distancing as a result of the pandemic, this year’s Record Store Day has been split into “two” Drop events on 12th June and 17th July. There are hundreds of limited edition and exclusive vinyl releases made for the day from the likes of Noel Gallagher, Wolf Alice, Little Mix and Ed Sheeran across each of these dates.
Shops will be coordinating socially distanced queues, bookable time slots and same day online 6pm sales on 12th June before hopefully returning to the traditional parties and gatherings on 17th July.
This year’s Record Store Day ambassador Noel Gallagher said ““Record shops were really important when I was growing up. It’s something that’s in my DNA. I think if we can keep record shops open for as long as possible, we owe it to the young people of this country. For this year’s Record Store Day I’ll be getting involved. I’ve got something unique coming out. Hopefully the fans will like it and they’ll keep the flame burning for your local record shop.”