Yes vinyl is great, but it’s not going to replace digital any time soon


I love comebacks as much as the next person. After all I was brought up on the Rocky films! But I’m always astonished by how things are twisted by the media to give tech stories a particular – and usually more sexy – spin.

If you read the coverage on the BBC and in the Guardian in particular about the latest revenue figures for vinyl you could almost be fooled into thinking that people are ditching digital – burning their iPhones, and rushing out to buy vinyl and record players instead. Maybe in Shoreditch they are, but elsewhere in the country it’s a very different picture.

Yes, the revenue raised from vinyl has outstripped the revenue from digital downloads for the first time, but let’s all get a grip! There are other factors at work here. In particular, people are shifting their digital consumption away from downloads and towards streaming services like Spotify and Deezer.

At the same time we are seeing the price of digital downloads falling through the floor while vinyl prices rocket. Take the lovely Kate Bush’s live Before The Dawn album as an example. Buy this triple album on vinyl and you’ll be looking at spending over £50. Download it digitally and it’s around £12. Quite a difference.

Then of course there’s Christmas. Who wants to wrap up a digital download when you can get a nice touchy feely album – one hopefully featuring images and artwork from Kate Bush – instead?

Yes it’s lovely, but vinyl is still only 2% of the music market in terms of volume and I don’t think it will grow too much more any time soon.

You can read my more detailed piece on Tech Digest here

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