Digging deeper doesn’t paint quite such a gleaming picture

We’ve all seen the headlines, beaming proudly as they declare vinyl sales are soaring. UK transactions are at their highest point this side of the millenium; the US market has grown for twelve consecutive years, with 14.3 million wax LPs sold in 2017. There’s no denying it, vinyl is experiencing a resurgence – of sorts.

To this day, vinyl is a symbol intrinsically linked to dance music culture, and it’s tempting to got lost in the romanticism of vinyl’s unlikely comeback. On the surface, an increased interest in the format favoured for underground labels and DJs across the globe seems positive for dance music, but digging deeper doesn’t paint quite so gleaming a picture.

When a revived interest in vinyl first became apparent, the cogs of capitalism began turning, and now the significant rise in sales is the effect of major labels shipping huge quantities of Pink Floyd and The Beatles reissues, Ed Sheeran albums, and Blockbuster film soundtracks. High street shops have got in on the honeypot, with the likes of Urban Outfitters and Sainsbury’s stocking records. Last year Sony announced plans to start pressing records after a near-three decade hiatus, and Sainsbury’s decided to launch a record label after declaring itself as the UK’s biggest vinyl retailer. Independent shops and labels are not seeing an equivalent upturn in fortunes.

“It’s not something to celebrate in my opinion,” says Kristina Records founder Jason Spinks of the sales spike driven by non-specialist retailers. “Trends and fads based on current fashion and lifestyle choices generally have a lot of detrimental effects that will outweigh the positives on the industry as a whole. Particularly where independent and underground music and culture are concerned.”