*When CDs came into existence, we thought that it was the death of vinyl records but while vinyl sales definitely plummeted in the arrival of much cheaper formats like cassettes and CDs, it was never really gone. Many music lovers still loved playing music on vinyl. However, they’re really the rare breed, the hipsters and music aficionados who are in love with old things.
As years passed, most people have switched to more convenient ways of listening to music– there’s radio and MTV, and now Youtube and Spotify.
But what surprised many, even those in the music industry, is that in the early 2010s, vinyl record sales steadily increased and in 2020, vinyl officially cemented itself as a relevant music format by surpassing CD sales! This isn’t just from artists from the olden days, many indie musicians have been releasing really cool vinyl records today. During Record Store Day, you will see many creative vinyl records released both by established artists and new indie artists. If you’re into vinyl or you just discovered a new-found love for it, keep your mouth and pockets shut or you’d scream from excitement and go broke.
So why are many indie musicians releasing their own custom records in 2021?
There are many blogs on custom vinyl records news and stories on custom vinyl records that made us come up with five possible reasons why vinyl record industry has risen from the ashes:
#1 Rising sales encouraged more musicians to release an album in vinyl format
As I have mentioned, the comeback of vinyl records is the main reason. It’s rising sales has attracted much attention from different musicians from varying music genres. Just two months into 2021, there really isn’t much new data. However, let me present the summary of last year’s sales.
Since the pandemic, there is a surge in most college students buying vinyl records online or in vinyl record shops. This surge was recorded by the Recording Industry Association of America, and they reported that vinyl record sales have surpassed CD sales with a 3.6 percent increase. CD sales was also reported to have decreased by 47.6 percent. Also, MRC Data and Billboard’s annual report for Black Friday 2020 states that almost 1.3 million albums were sold which set the highest record recorded by MRC Data since 1991. But 3 weeks later it was broken yet again with more than 1.8 million albums sold during holiday shopping. Last year’s top two best selling vinyl record albums were Harry Styles’ “Fine Line” (232,000) and Billie Eilish’ “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” (196,000).
#2 Fans love em!
Do fans love vinyl because musicians make cool vinyl releases or do musicians make cool releases because fans buy them? It’s a chicken and egg question but does it matter? They’re both important.
Fans’ love for vinyl plays a huge role in the decision of releasing music on vinyl records. After all, fans are the core of vinyl records rising sales and without their curiosity or decision of buying the format, vinyl record sales won’t have risen as much as it has now. They are the ones buying tons of a musicians’ released album or merchandise, so pleasing them and giving them what they want will surely come first.
Repeated use of technology has pushed the younger generation to find other hobbies or interests they can focus on. Those that separates them from the herd. Those that are direct proof of their identity. This may have led to young music lovers to either discover or appreciate the vinyl record format. In fact, the opposite could also be true. Maybe they’re conforming because everyone thinks vinyl is cool again. They can post stuff on their Instagram and Facebook and they can get extra cool points.
#3 Prestige and validation for musicians
You read that right! Prestige could definitely be one of the reasons why indie musicians have chosen to release in vinyl records. There are too many indie artists today thanks to the internet and while this is cool, if you want to set yourself apart from the new ones who are just dipping their toes on the water, releasing your album in vinyl records is definitely a way to legitimize you. It’s to certify that you’re serious about your music and that many people are actually willing to buy your album even if it’s a little expensive.
Not many musicians release their music in vinyl records so when a certain musician releases theirs, it feels like they’re “not like any musician.” With digital music and music in the CD format being more mainstream, it’s quite rare to find musicians that release in vinyl record format. However, we do acknowledge the fact that vinyl record releases of indie artists this year have already been abundant compared to the past.
#4 Room for creativity
This reason is mainly about how vinyl records and vinyl record pressing companies are offering a wider range of customization unlike before. With wider things to customize, comes wider room for creativity. In the past all they can customize is the vinyl album’s jacket, but now, almost everything can be customized. Musicians can customize the color, design, and even shape of the vinyl record itself. In addition, they can now add posters, inserts and many more in their vinyl albums making the custom vinyl record releases truly one-of-a-kind.
In case you want to see some of the cbest custom vinyl record ideas ever, check these out:
- “Vicious” by Karen Elson which had dried rose petals pressed at the center of the record;
- “Blue Ice” by Shout Out Louds with their records that are literally ice;
- “The Ghost Who Walks” by Karen Elson with her scented vinyl records; and
- “Say Yes To Love” by Perfect P*ssy, which was a clear vinyl record that had a mix of the singer’s blood.
#5 Short-run vinyl record pressing
Since manufacturers now offer short-run for vinyl records, it became easier for musicians’ to weigh their risks. Many vinyl record press and pressing companies offer custom vinyl records with no minimum quantity nowadays. This makes indie musicians’ savings banks have a chance of survival, as they won’t have to spend more money on more copies without having a guaranteed return of expense. Plus, the internet with it’s many options for selling stuff more easily ( order on-demand, pre-selling, Kickstarter, etc) has definitely made vinyl releases easier.
All these reasons make it possible for even the newest indie group to release an album in the vinyl record format. It’s amazing how the internet didn’t kill the vinyl but instead resurrected it from the dead.