MusicWatch, a U.S. research and analytics company, has unveiled the results of the first study conducted in cooperation with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Music Business Association on the current state of the vinyl record market.
The study, titled “Revelations About the Vinyl Revolution,” offers a detailed look at the preferences and predispositions of the purchasers and listeners to this classic format.
Led by former NPD executive Russ Crupnick, MusicWatch has produced syndicated and custom market research solutions for a variety of customers, including the major music labels, digital service providers, and technology companies. Over the years, the scope of MusicWatch’s work has grown to encompass virtually every significant music development from the impact of P2P piracy to the evolution of paid streaming services.
Their latest study, which was conducted March 7-31, surveyed nearly 1,400 consumers across the U.S. in nearly every lifestyle segment, including both the general population and vinyl enthusiasts. It examines not just the tendencies of vinyl consumers but their psychographic behavior, as well, including their approach to the vinyl purchasing process; their orientation toward sound quality and packaging and how this helps to drive interest in the product category; plus their interaction with other vinyl enthusiasts via social media.
The MusicWatch findings offer a number of insights concerning the overall awareness of vinyl and its effect on music fans across the buying spectrum. For example, an estimated 18 million consumers aged 13 and older purchased vinyl during 2021, which is a 27% increase over a significantly COVID-19-impacted 2020. Among buyers of vinyl over the past two years, 71% purchased new records and 67% bought used ones. And, 95% of vinyl buyers expect to continue purchasing the format in the coming year.
The MusicWatch survey also found that more than one in three buyers (38%) have been purchasing vinyl for more than 10 years and value the authenticity and “warmth” that vinyl records deliver. Those who began buying more recently also appreciate vinyl’s sound quality, along with the packaging, features, and artwork that are part of the vinyl experience. Plus, the number of artists embracing vinyl influences these newer buyers as well.
Collecting vinyl is also quite popular. Sixteen percent of purchasers buy records strictly to own them, while 21% buy them to collect and listen to.
Additionally, MusicWatch found that vinyl records have a positive impact on hardware sales. One out of three turntable owners and users say that they intend to upgrade their record player or other audio equipment next year.
Vinyl buyers are also engaged in not just vinyl records, but a wide range of music listening and purchasing options, including the latest digital streaming platforms.
According to Mitch Glazier, chairman and CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America, “This landmark research conducted by MusicWatch underscores the unique role that vinyl records are playing today. The report shows that vinyl helps fans support and connect with artists and the music they love in both old ways and new.”
Portia Sabin, president of The Music Business Association also stated, “Our organization was pleased to support MusicWatch in its research efforts. The members of our Physical Business Action Committee worked closely with Russ and his team to help promote more awareness about vinyl record retailers in general and their impact on their communities.”
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