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Beyond audiophile walls: perspective on vinyl’s comeback

  • “I need perspective ’cause I’m facing the wall
    I need perspective ’cause I’m not that tall – Peter Gabriel (1978)

    Here is the news:

    ‘Amazon sold more turntables than any other home audio product this Christmas [2015]’music to a vinylphile’s ears.

    However – this is only part of a broader picture. Is the audiophile world not walled in by its lack of mass market perspective?

    Look over the wall – and into the mainstream. Look at what people bought. The leader of Amazon.com’s seasonal turntable bonanza was a US$50 all-in-one from Jensen – turntables like this are (worse than) the UE Boom or Beats Pill of the vinyl world.

    More recent news:

    ‘The world’s biggest quality turntable maker sees production soar 400%’. A four-fold increase in sales, as recently reportedly by the Czech Republic’s SEV Litovel factory who handle manufacturing for Pro-Ject and Music Hall, sounds super impressive.

    Vinyl is back. We’ve heard it time and again. Music to the vinylphile’s ears: he never gave up on the format during its fallow years; and he loves the smell of vindication in the morning.

    [Source: Digital Music News]

    British turntable manufacturer Rega is now making 4000 turntables/month. SEV Litovel are forecasting that they will produce over 10,000 turntables/month within three years.

    This too is only part of a broader picture. Look over the wall.

    SEV Litovel’s four-fold production increase took place over eight years.

    Furthermore, recent RIAA figures point to a slow down in vinyl sales growth: an increase of 1.8% in unit sales for 2016 is a long way from the 38% annual growth average noted between 2012 and 2015.

    Vinyl record sales still represent less than 10% of (the USA’s) total music consumption.

    According to the RIAA’s 2016 report, streaming now brings in more revenue than downloads, CDs and vinyl combined.

    Streaming is a blue whale to vinyl’s ocean trout.

    The bigger picture – perspective –  helps us keep the stories that we hear (and tell others) better anchored in reality.

    We should read more than one audiophile publication; pay attention to how our non-audiophile pals listen to music; remain skeptical of those who try to tell us there is only one way to reproduce it.

    We should always look over the wall…

    John Darko

    Written by John Darko

    John currently lives in Berlin where creates videos and podcasts and pens written pieces for Darko.Audio. He has also contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

    Follow John on YouTube or Instagram

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