Half the buyers of vinyl records do not have a record player

3 May 2023

Vinyl record on a record player turntable

Image courtesy of SanderSmit.

I was pleased to see the back of my (admittedly modest) collection of vinyl records a decade or two ago. I was not a fan of the format. The records (and their covers) needed to be handled with great care, the vinyl seemed to scratch all too easily, and, like a large number of paper books, were an imposition when it came to moving house.

Such concerns are of little importance to others though. Last year, sales of vinyl records surged by twenty percent, compared to the year before. 2022 was indeed a good year for vinyl, with sales at their highest since 1988. Despite the resurgence vinyl records are enjoying though, sales today remain a shadow of what they were during the 1970’s.

But here’s the thing, even though sales of vinyl are skyrocketing, fifty percent of buyers do not have a turntable, or a record player. This according to research conducted by Luminate, a company analysing music sales data, says Abby Jones, writing for Consequence:

Luminate’s “Top Entertainment Trends for 2023” report found that of the 3,900 US-based respondents surveyed, “50% of consumers who have bought vinyl in the past 12 months own a record player, compared to 15% among music listeners overall.” So — feel free to double-check our math here — that would indicate that 50% of vinyl buyers over the past year have no way to play those records at home.

So what goes here then? Record players are still available. So why not buy one to enjoy the music you’ve bought? Are some buyers of vinyl treating the format like a tradable commodity, and attempting to speculate on their value?


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