A VINYL COUNTDOWN? – Vinyl Records have a comeback, but how much can the market expand?

It’s an investement of around 500,000 Euros, Peter Runge, head of productions at a Berlin vinyl pressing plant, says about building a new machine for the company [source]. The construction plans are there. But the option to buy some of the few machines available worldwide is much more attractive.

And here’s the dilemma of the recent vinyl boom: A rising demand in contrast to limited production capacities.

People more and more love to have a physical carrier of sound. Rather vinyl than a CD, or even an mp3 file. It’s a unique experience: Unpacking the set, reading the liner notes, discovering the artwork. And then, the whole process of playing the record.

On Record Store Day, a now almost global day to bring people to smaller, independent record stores, the shops often have a turn-over that equals their usual business of a month.

And so major record labels jump on the train. They publish albums, special editions and collector’s releases in various forms. Mostly in limited quantities. But production capacities get even smaller.

If shops order another new copy of a sold-out record today, it now can take up to six month to get it.

But it seems it’s worth waiting for when you listen to vinyl lovers describing what they like about vinyl records.

Buying vinyl records today is even more than a purchase of music. Sometimes it addresses people directly or brings them to other related salers. A move of cross-marketing. British band Editors recently put out a special pressing of their new song “Marching Orders.” Available only at some local Oxfam shops. Available only if people leave their houses – and the internet.

But there’s also a way back to the internet for vinyl records. Online-stores also sell them. Special websites concentrate on discovering and selling rare and old pressings. Many recent releases contain a voucher for digital downloads of the purchased item.

So it seems that the more people buy vinyl, the more it becomes attractive to actually build new machines for pressing plants. The more the market expands. But the more it becomes a mass phenomenon. Something real vinyl lovers may not like too much.


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