Culture 3 min read

How Music Streaming Helped Vinyl Make a Comeback

Vinyl has seen a renaissance as of late, and it may all be thanks to music streaming. | Image By exile_artist |

Vinyl has seen a renaissance as of late, and it may all be thanks to music streaming. | Image By exile_artist |

At the time of streaming, and in part thanks to it, vinyl is confirming its longevity as a music format.

Since the early days of the internet, music  was inevitably moving towards digitization.

Now, music streaming is king. Now even recording industry magnates have moved most of their business to streaming platforms.

Just like video, physical media still exist but in the shadow of streaming.

In 2016, According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), over half of the music industry’s revenue ($5.7 billion) came from streaming.

Second, with $1.5 billion, came physical media like CDs and vinyl. Surprisingly, this was more than the revenue made from digital downloads ($1.3 billion).

Once again, physical media is on the rise.

As Streaming Booms, Vinyl Makes a Comeback

In the middle of the streaming boom, there’s growing interest in vinyl.

Per RIAA’s report, vinyl is the only among physical format to see growth in sales, with its revenues up by 10% to $395 million.

Vinyl albums are pricier but have an added esthetical value thanks to their retro look and nicely-designed packages.

Album design has become so crucial for labels in selling vinyl that the Making Vinyl Conference recently reintroduced the Packaging Awards.

A poll, which attributes the vinyl resurgence to middle-aged men nostalgia, found that “41% have a turntable they never use, while 7% of those who purchase vinyl don’t own a record player.”

On the other hand, subscription services like Spotify, Pandora, and Apple Music are more and more popular because of their technical and financial convenience.

Read More: New Pandora Acquisition May Change the Future of Music Streaming

For listeners, streaming music is cheaper. However, they actually pay for the right to access music rather than outrightly owning the material.

For a fraction of the money they’d spend on a single vinyl albums, customers can subscribe to stream virtually endless music content.

Vinyl gives fans an opportunity to demonstrate their appreciation for an artist they love or have discovered through streaming.

This way, streaming and vinyl records can enjoy a complementary relationship instead of clashing.

Streaming is a discovery format, and vinyl is a showcase for love.

As inconvenient a music format as it is, vinyl has extraordinary longevity and it shows no sign of stopping.

Plus, vinyl records, depending on their production standards, can get you the closest to what the musician aimed for.

Music and films have been similarly affected by streaming, but why hasn’t VHS seen the rebirth vinyl is experiencing?

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Zayan Guedim

Trilingual poet, investigative journalist, and novelist. Zed loves tackling the big existential questions and all-things quantum.

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