“We’re selling a lot more younger-demo and pop things on vinyl than we used to,” says Larry Mansdorf, Newbury’s senior buyer of digitized media. “There was a 10-year gap where pop things were not coming out on vinyl, or made a limited run. Now there’s a huge demand for it, and a customer base that was not being served is now being served.”
Overall, U.S. vinyl unit sales jumped 46.2% in 2020 — the format’s biggest year in three decades. (Vinyl now accounts for 5.2% of U.S. recorded-music revenue, according to the RIAA.) There’s no authoritative data on how many of these sales come from younger consumers, but there are clues: The number of 18- to 24-year-old music listeners who used a turntable increased from 12.4% in 2018 to 18.6% last year, according to a MusicWatch consumer survey, and the online marketplace Discogs reported that its percentage of users who are between 25 and 34 increased from 23% in May/June 2019 to 29% in the same period last year.
“We’re certainly seeing a growth in the format since COVID,” says Lyn Koppe, executive vp global catalog for Legacy Recordings, whose parent company Sony Music lists Fine Line and Pink Floyd‘s Dark Side of the Moon as its best-selling 2020 vinyl LPs. “It used to be that audiophile market, but now it’s not limited to that consumer. It’s much more mass-market.”
Matt Harmon, president of the independent Beggars Group U.S., says the trend started before the pandemic, and there’s some evidence that’s true: MusicWatch data finds that turntable use