Vinyl thriving in Leeds despite digital music revolution

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Internet advances, digital downloads and music streaming could have signalled the end for the tactile romance of the vinyl record.

The format had seemingly been in terminal decline following the rise of the Compact Disc and later digital MP3s, but in 2014 the vinyl revival has seen album record sales soar past the million mark for the first time in 18 years.

Melissa Watson checks out albums at Crash Records in Leeds. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

Melissa Watson checks out albums at Crash Records in Leeds. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

Sales figures have been gradually increasing since the late noughties, leaving Yorkshire’s record store stalwarts unsurprised at the news. Sales were most recently buoyed by Pink Floyd’s The Endless River – their first release for two decades.

Selling 6,000 vinyl Floyd albums in just a week, it was the biggest opening week for a vinyl record since 1997 according to figures released by music industry body BPI.

Crash Records, in The Headrow, which has been a presence in Leeds for nearly 25 years, has gone to the extent of expanding its space to accommodate extra vinyl over the last two or three years.

“There are lots more young people buying vinyl, which is the real surprise in terms of when you think of the digital age,” said store owner Ian De-Whytell. “They are buying vinyl because they want to own something tangible rather than something they have streamed – they want something they feel a connection to.”

Melissa Watson checks out albums at Crash Records in the Headrow, Leeds

Melissa Watson checks out albums at Crash Records in the Headrow, Leeds

He said that while the attraction to vinyl is in physical ownership, look and sound quality, record companies have also made clever moves by releasing bundles that include vinyls alongside codes to download digital copies.

Acts such as Royal Blood and the Arctic Monkeys have also helped fuel the vinyl uplift this year, which projections say could see sales reach as high as 1.2million by the end of 2014. That figure dwarfs the 2007 low of just 205,000.

BPI spokesman Gennaro Castaldo said: “Many of us assumed it had become an obsolete format, but while the flame may have flickered, it never quite went out.”

Despite the swelling sales it still only accounts for around two per cent of the UK’s music sales market.

Melissa Watson checks out albums at Crash Records in the Headrow, Leeds

Melissa Watson checks out albums at Crash Records in the Headrow, Leeds

CHRISTMAS RECORD BID

The return to prominence of vinyl has been credited in-part to events such as the annual Record Store Day which celebrates independent sellers.

Other initiatives are also under way, with the latest attempt to cash in on the format being Universal Music UK’s 12 Days of Christmas this year.

The music giant will sell batches of collectable vinyl music daily at selected independent record shops, including Crash Records, from December 1 to 13 – excluding Sunday December 7. Music by the likes of The Beatles, Bon Jovi, The Who and Metallica will feature.

Melissa Watson checks out albums at Crash Records in the Headrow, Leeds

Melissa Watson checks out albums at Crash Records in the Headrow, Leeds

BEST SELLING VINYL ALBUMS OF 2014

In the year that has seen vinyl album sales conquer the 1million mark for the first time since 1996, a mixed bag of artists have proven popular. There are debuts, classic albums and bands at the top of their game included:

1: Arctic Monkeys – AM

2: Jack White – Lazaretto

3: Pink Floyd – The Endless River

4: Royal Blood – Royal Blood

Melissa Watson checks out albums at Crash Records in the Headrow, Leeds

Melissa Watson checks out albums at Crash Records in the Headrow, Leeds

5: Oasis – Definitely Maybe

6: The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses

7: Pink Floyd – The Dark Side Of The Moon

8: Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin

9: Led Zeppelin III – Led Zeppelin

10: Led Zeppelin II – Led Zeppelin

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