In an era where technology reigns king, there’s at least one industry that thrives on nostalgia. Amidst platforms like Spotify and Apple Music, vinyl record sales continue to increase – and it’s no fluke. In fact, 2017 marked the 12th consecutive year of growth in the vinyl record market, with more than 14.3 million vinyl records sold in the U.S. On April 21, independent record stores around the world will celebrate their success and their unique culture with Record Store Day.
This year will mark the 10th annual Record Store Day celebration. The first occasion took place in 2008 when the so-called “vinyl revival” was still a relatively new phenomenon. U.S. vinyl sales jumped an uncanny 89 percent between 2007 and 2008, as more than 1.8 million records were sold in 2008. It may not have been clear at the time, but these days, it seems plain to see that vinyl – and the local-driven Record Store Day – is here to stay.
While remarkable, vinyl’s growth still begs the question: Why? There doesn’t appear to be one clear reason to explain the popularity of vinyl or local record stores, but here are some theories. Perhaps there’s a widespread craving for nostalgia or a desire for something tangible in the increasingly digital world. Vinyl likely has an advantage also because it appeals to a wide span of generations. In fact, Fortune reports that millennials make 50 percent of vinyl purchases, despite never having grown up with the technology.
There could also be a local-based reason for vinyl’s success. Although stores like Barnes & Noble and Urban Outfitters have become known for selling vinyl during its revival, records are often associated with locally and independently owned record stores. The increase in vinyl sales has largely occurred at a time of increasing support for small and locally owned businesses, including local record stores. In 2015, UPS and ComScore found that 93 percent of shoppers prefer small and locally owned retailers. These consumers appreciate the unique products and innovative shopping experience provided by small businesses. Surely, record stores pride themselves on a unique collection of records, and the experience of going to a record store is so culturally valued that record stores have become a regular backdrop for engagement photos. If that’s not indicative of vinyl’s revival, then what is?
As vinyl record sales continue to increase, Record Store Day reminds consumers to shop small and buy local for their favorite albums. A 10-year tradition, Record Store Day is now proudly celebrated on every continent except Antarctica. To participate on April 21, search the Record Store Day website for participating stores, or try Independent We Stand’s Locals Only Business Search.