You may not have noticed it but physical media sales are up, and they’re up by a lot.
Vinyl sales have doubled in the first 6 months of 2022! CD sales are up too after nearly 2 decades of nose-diving, and the humble cassette is staging a comeback as well!
But why is this happening?
Are people quitting streaming services and if so, what’s going on to give physical music the best sales boost it’s had in almost 20 years?
Why Are Fans Quitting Spotify For Physical Media?
It’s important to note that people aren’t dumping streaming in droves but there is a definite set of reasons that some people are and they include:
People like security in their playlists Sure, “owning nothing” may be no big deal to some folks when it comes to their music but for others, it is. This is down to the fact that artists and labels have taken to pulling their back catalog from streaming whenever the mood takes them. However you feel about Neil Young’s stunt regarding Spotify’s hosting of Joe Rogan, there’s no denying he has a big fanbase who want to hear his music and not excuses about why it’s no longer available.
Directly supporting the artist matters Then there’s the matter of how your streaming dollar (or absence of your dollar, the advertiser’s dollar) gets divided up. Many people would prefer that their cash went to their favorite acts and not every random artist that the algorithm suggests. Buying a record or CD allows you to do just that and know that the artist is making more money than if you’d streamed that album, instead.
Aesthetic appeal. Vinyl, in particular, looks awesome. Well, the sleeves do anyway. You can hang the artwork on your wall and it’s great.
The fun of collecting. When you go out to buy physical media, you start to interact with a whole community of people who love music. It’s an enjoyable experience that leads to discovery of new acts and new friendships.
Intentional listening. There’s also the argument, which we make in our piece on why you should quit Spotify, that buying physical media makes the act of music consumption far more intentional.
A tangible experience. There’s also something very nice about getting hands on with the music you listen to. You can’t beat unwrapping a new find, popping it on the deck and letting the sound fill the room. Streaming doesn’t even come close.
We love physical media and think there’s a bigger place for it in most people’s lives than it occupies now, however, we don’t think that it has to be an “either/or” situation with streaming.
You can enjoy both and we do.
Spotify is ideal for listening to on the commute to work, for example, whereas a great slab of vinyl, a glass of wine, and a warm bath is the way to go home.