It might be bad news for vinyl if the current trajectory towards digital music is really coming to life. Analysts are saying the trajectory of digital music might come to a point where vinyl music will eventually become obsolete – but others are saying the switch from digital to analog will only work to a certain degree. What’s the real deal with this issue?
If you’re a music fan, perhaps one of the questions that may have never even crossed your mind is if LP would actually be “bursting its bubble.” After all, it’s been quite a while since the arrival of digital music, but it appears the LP game is still strong – perhaps even stronger than CDs.
It can be remembered that 1980s technology heralded the arrival of the CD, and even then it’s thought that the CD would inevitably kill the LP and prove that digital is really the way to go. Interestingly, three (3) decades in, and anyone has yet to see a sign of the “impending doom” for LPs. Turntables are on the rise even, with models such as Fluance RT-81 and Audio Technic ATH LP60 having quite the market in young and aspiring disc jockeys (DJs). Even more experienced DJs are expecting more higher-end models to be in display in Munich’s High End Show.
Ironically, the CD market is getting a bit of a low day, and not a lot of CD players are still around.
Of course, this doesn’t mean the CD market is dying out. Both LP and CD albums are in fact selling very largely. Physical music format actually account for more than 30-percent of revenue in the music industry, versus 38-percent from worldwide streaming back in 2017. Percentages of which is higher in most countries differ – as countries like Japan use more LPs and CDs at 72-percent, and with Germany only having 43-percent.
So while reports do indicate that worldwide CD sales are down, it’s definitely not extinct. Interestingly, LP sales actually grew by as much as 22.3-percent, while unfortunately making up only 3.7-percent of all total recorded music worldwide in the market last year.
In terms of streaming, a lot of churning is also occurring in the realm of formats such as MQA, WAV, PCM, FLAC, DSD, and MP3. The digital media is constantly evolving, while the LP is staying mature in a solid manner. In fact, almost all LPs made from 1948 can actually be played on most turntables – and this kind of long-term durability is what might be convincing users to stay in the analog medium.
Meanwhile, even turntables are starting to turn towards more modernized tech. Photo cartridges, tonearms, and turntables in general are still very much improving – and even the best LP gear every year can play better music than the one before.
It seems the future of physical digital formats such as Blu-ray, SACD, and CD don’t exactly look healthy though due to streaming services. Interestingly, vinyl remains to have no competition – after all, LPs are the only way to enjoy them. While there are options of digitizing their vinyl connection, they still need LPs and turntables to enjoy them in the first place.
Of course, the vinyl bubble may eventually burst at some point, but it’s not going to be occurring anytime soon. Vinyl doesn’t even need huge sales to stay afloat in the first place, as vinyl pressing plants are very much capable of producing hundreds of thousands of records every year. Even photo cartridge, tonearm, and turntable companies can survive because of their niche market.
But then again, if the battle boils down to free or streaming music and vinyl, then that’s where the real fight starts.
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