When the Compact Disc, or CD, made its commercial debut on August 17th, 1982, the prevailing thought was this was the format to replace Vinyl. It was smaller, cheaper to produce, and most importantly, was not nearly as fragile as vinyl was. Test after test was completed by various Hi-Fi magazines that showed CD’s had (against the prevailing narrative from Vinyl purists) superior sound quality too.
It seemed that the fight to maintain Vinyl as the gold standard of audio formats was a doomed one. In 1989, Vinyl sales slipped to third with CD’s selling 27 million more units. For those of you wondering, the Cassette Tape was first, selling an incredible 208 million units! Throughout the 90’s Vinyl sales continued a sharp decline. Eventually, most Vinyl pressing firms went out of business and record labels no longer released them. Purveyors of Vinyl were forced to find one off music stores, flea markets or garage sales to find the titles they desired.
As Cassettes were eventually replaced by CD’s and CD’s the MP3, Vinyl still held a small part of the Baby Boomer/Generation X heart. They never really left the public consciousness. They remind people of time before our lives were filled with technology. A time when we weren’t always available 24/7. You could grab a book and listen to the Steve Miller Band through a pair of Klipsch Cornwall’s.
Skip ahead to 2008. Vinyl sales started to increase selling more than any other year since Nielsen SoundScan starting tracking LP sales in 1991. 2009 sales surpassed 2008 sales and it has continued to grow ever since. Sales have increased so much that several new press plants have sprung up around the world. Record labels have begun to release artist albums with a vinyl version. It appears the lowly Vinyl record, the format that was deemed dead, was rising from the ashes.
In February 2012, London Drugs introduced its first Vinyl offering in several years. Our first LP for sale was a classic, Pink Floyd – The Wall. Sales were strong and so began our journey backwards in time. London Drugs currently stocks over 350 Vinyl titles ranging from classics like AC/DC – Back in Black to new releases such as Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience.
Few experiences are as subjective as sound. Some of us prefer more bass. Some want clean, accurate sound and some of us, myself included, prefer the organic sound that Vinyl provides. Modern technology is great but sometimes it is nice to slow down, put on your favourite vinyl album and drop the needle.
Assistant Store Manager – St Vital