When was the last time you browsed through a record store? Or played an album on your turntable? Unless you’re truly old-school – or, like some aficionados, prefer records for their superior audio quality – you probably moved on long ago to CDs and mp3s.
But the tide is turning: while CD and mp3 sales have dominated the music industry for years, vinyl record sales are getting their groove back and represent a steadily growing niche for music fans, collectors and audiophiles.
With the sixth annual Record Store Day coming up tomorrow, we decided to take a look at the trend – and also at what you can do with that record collection that’s cluttering up your home.
The Comeback of the Vinyl Record
According to Nielsen SoundScan, 4.6 million vinyl LPs were sold in the U.S. in 2012, an increase of 18 percent from 2011. That’s the fifth consecutive year of increased vinyl sales and the highest total ever since SoundScan began tracking records in 1991. Statistics also indicate that 76 percent were rock albums. Turntable sales are projected to grow by 40% in the next year, according to the Consumer Electronics Association.
Sixty-seven percent of those record sales were at independent record stores.
Celebrate Record Store Day
On Saturday April 20, your local independent record store will be celebrating Record Store Day. Founded in 2007, it celebrates music and the unique record store culture in the US and worldwide.
Record stores keep the human social contact alive, it brings people together. Without the independent record stores the community breaks down with everyone sitting in front of their computers.” – Ziggy Marley
The annual event has been gaining in popularity, with an increasing array of musicians (Paul McCartney, Chet Atkins, Mumford & Sons, Pink Floyd, Bon Jovi) offering special vinyl and CD releases exclusively at indie record stores during the celebration. There will also be special performances, meet-and-greets with fans and DJ’s spinning records, of course. The RSD iPhone app will keep you up-to-date on event locations, releases and more.
How to Sell Your Vinyl
Vinyl is a huge field for collectors, and your old albums may be worth more than you think. Value is determined by an album’s condition, rarity and demand.
To appraise your collection, consult collectors’ guides online; Popsike.com and CollectorsFrenzy.com are vinyl record auction aggregators that keep a record of how much an album has sold for over time.
One of the most popular places to buy and sell records is eBay, the worldwide auction and shopping website. Today there are over 1.7 million active listings on eBay under the search term “LP’s.” Music aficionados also search record stores, Amazon, newspapers and flea markets.
Verna Gillis, a record producer and talent manager for musicians, owns a large collection of about 6,000 vinyl records, 3,000 of which are jazz. She cautions that there is an intrinsic versus a market value for vinyl, and often the disparity is great. Based on her experience, the average album price is about $25, with some going as high as $75 and, on the flip side, as low as $10.
Gillis prefers selling her collection via Craigslist. She says it’s easier to list there and, because sales are local, gives you a chance to interact with other music lovers. “The buyers’ personalities are interesting. I’ve met really nice people,” Gillis says. She enjoys seeing what different buyers select, as well as knowing that her records will be appreciated by their new owners.
Some Recent Vinyl Sales
Rolling Stones, “Let It Bleed”
- Popsike.com sales history for the past month: $28 to $160 (about 15 sold). In 2009, $1,025
- CollectorsFrenzy.com sales history for last month: $15 to $855 (about 65 albums sold)
- Currently on ebay: 115 active listings; opening bids run the gamut from $12.50 to in the hundreds of dollars.
Moody Blues, “Days of Future Passed”
- Popsike.com sales for past month: $28 to $ $158 (11 sold). In 2012, a signed copy sold for $225.
- CollectorsFrenzy.com sales for the past month: $16 to $158 (14 sold). In June 2012 a copy sold for $358.
- Currently on ebay: 327 active listings; many below $100.
Do you still play your vinyl records or do you have them stashed away? If you’ve tried buying or selling albums, what has your experience been?