One might think that the rise in vinyl sales would call for a corresponding rise in turntables. As it turns out, however, about half of vinyl LP buyers don’t own a record player, according to a recent study by the music sales data company Luminate (via Music Business Worldwide).
Luminate’s “Top Entertainment Trends for 2023” report found that of the 3,900 US-based respondents surveyed, “50% of consumers who have bought vinyl in the past 12 months own a record player, compared to 15% among music listeners overall.” So — feel free to double-check our math here — that would indicate that 50% of vinyl buyers over the past year have no way to play those records at home.
Luminate seems to credit these stats largely to “superfans,” who they define 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.”
Still, the vast majority of music revenue — 84% in 2022 — still comes from streaming services, which could indicate that a lot of these “superfans” operate more on a completist mindset and tend to buy vinyl simply for the sake of owning rather than necessarily listening to it. It’s also worth noting that the highest-selling albums on vinyl last year were Taylor Swift’s Midnights (945,000 copies), Harry Styles’ Harry’s House (480,000), and Olivia Rodrigo’s SOUR (263,000) — all artists with notoriously fervent fanbases.
But the vinyl craze extends far beyond the world of young pop artists, too: Last year, Jack White called on major record labels to build their own vinyl record pressing plants in an effort to alleviate delays in manufacturing. Last month, Metallica bought their own pressing plant after their albums were pressed to vinyl nearly a million times in 2022.