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Vinyl is Back!

Record-producing plants are pushing out product at an increased rate, and turntable sales are also surging. 

| BY Kent McDill

For some music aficionados, the only way to listen to music is when it is played from a vinyl record, scratches and all.

Today, vinyl fans are enjoying a renaissance of available records being distributed to audiences.

Since 2005, new vinyl record sales have increased. They reached one million new copies sold in the United States in 2007, and in 2013, six million new vinyl records were sold, according to Nielsen Soundscan. That increase comes amid a continued drop in total album sales, down 15 percent to 121 million units in 2013, as the popularity of CDs and digital albums fall to individual song streaming.

Nielsen said there were four million new vinyl records sold in the first half of 2014, meaning a possible reach of eight million for the year.

Amazingly, the sale of new vinyl records is not limited to Baby Boomer and Gen Xers who grew up with turntables before turning to tapes, CDs and MP3s. Today, parents are giving turntables to their children for gifts and those kids are buying vinyl albums from new bands who are producing actual “records” again.

For instance, Jack White’s August release Lazaretto became the first vinyl issue to sell 60,000 copies since Pearl Jam Vitalogy in 1994. Taylor Swift, perhaps the most popular musical artist in the world today, issued her most recent album on vinyl as well as other formats.

What is driving the resurgence in vinyl records? A number of factors are being put forth.

“It’s nice to have a tangible product,’’ said Capital City Records owner Dana Labat of Baton Rouge, La. To the Associated Press. “You can have 4,000 albums on a hard drive, but there is nothing to show anybody. And value-wise, you have no value, unless you sell the iPod that goes with the music. If you have 4,000 albums, that has a monetary value.”

Musicologists will tell you that the sound that comes from an album is far superior to anything else, including digital music sources.

“MP3 doesn’t give you the experience vinyl does,’’ said Patrick Lemons, owner of Hippo Records in Greensboro, N.C., to the Burlington Times-News. “It’s like watching a DVD on your laptop versus in a theater. Vinyl engages more than the sound waves.”

“When you play an MP3 or a CD, you can tell it’s coming from (the speaker),’’ said Ian Walker, owner of CFBG, also in Greensboro. “But an LP, it fills the whole house. The music floats in the air.”

With vinyl record sales increasing, so too is the production of vinyl records increasing. There are approximately one dozen plants in the United States that press records into vinyl, and they have cranked up production in recent years. United Record Pressing, the Nashville company that is one of the oldest record producing plants in the country, this summer said it was expanding its plant to the cost of $5.5 million so it can double production. It currently runs its 22 presses 24 hours a day, six days a week, to produce 40,000 records a day.

There is a similar growth in turntable sales. ABC News interviewed Liz Braun, vice president of sales and market4ing at Crosley, a Louisville, Ky. manufacturer of

 “Just about every model is seeing a surge in popularity and that mirrors the rise in popularity of vinyl records.”

About the Author

Kent McDill

Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.

In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.

McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.

McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy  Buffett and all things Disney.