The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The renaissance of vinyl records

Emilia Bateman
Student looking through the wide variety of vinyls and music memorabilia sold at Vinyl Solution Records in San Mateo.

In the age of digital streaming, the surprising resurgence of vinyl records has captured the hearts of many audiophiles and introduced a new generation to this previously disregarded music format. 

As the numbers continue to show growth in vinyl sales and as more individuals embrace the unique charm of vinyl records, it’s apparent that this format first introduced in 1948, gives listeners a timeless and cherished musical experience for all ages.

To many people’s surprise, vinyl records are no longer seen as a relic of the past. According to stats taken by Billboard Magazine, vinyl purchases were traditionally dominated by the 55+ age group. However, as of 2021, vinyl sales are evenly split between the 55+ demographic and the 13-24 age group.

The driving force behind this resurgence is the longing for a tangible connection to music. This, coupled with increased production of varied genres onto vinyl, has caused profits to soar in this sector.

Fifteen-year-old vinyl collector Jacob Morales attributes the resurgence in younger generations to the unique experience and “aesthetic” of vinyl listening.

“Listening to vinyl records is a different feeling. I can turn on any song ever created on my phone. And though it’s cool, there’s not a full experience. Vinyls have a specific sound that makes them much more interesting to listen to,” Morales said.

The rediscovery of the distinct experience of vinyl records is reflected in statistics that show a sharp rise in vinyl sales over the past few years, a resurgence that began during the COVID-19 pandemic as younger people explored this once-neglected analog format.

Amount of vinyl records sold each year since 2006 in millions. (Emilia Bateman)

The Recording Industry Association of America’s (RIAA) revenue statistics from 2021 revealed a 61% increase in vinyl revenue, crossing the billion-dollar milestone for the first time since 1986.

Morales attributes this revival to the trend of collecting vinyl that gained popularity on platforms like TikTok and other social media during 2020-2021.

“Listing to vinyl records started off being a cool aesthetic on social media but over time, this generation decided to start listening to it,” Morales said. 

Initially seen as a way for young people to decorate their rooms in a somewhat “retro” style, many individuals, including Morales, found themselves falling in love with this format and committed to building their collections. What was initially perceived as a trend among bored teenagers had a profound impact on the music industry.

According to the Midyear Music Industry Report from Luminate in 2023, vinyl has experienced a 21.7% increase since the previous year, and this growth shows no signs of slowing down.

As vinyl record income increases, more artists will invest money in putting their songs on vinyl, further increasing vinyl popularity. 

Record stores like Vinyl Solution Records in San Mateo have seen firsthand an increase in the popularity of vinyl as the variety of music offered in this format expanded.

“I noticed that artists are releasing so many pieces, and they’re excited that records are selling so well. And I think the catalog of music on vinyl will be growing. That might saturate the market, and it will continue to sell at a high rate,” said Tommy “Toonz” Predovich, the owner of Vinyl Solution Records.

Many artists popular with younger generations, such as Taylor Swift, Tyler the Creator, and Harry Styles, have produced some of the highest-selling vinyl records in recent years.

“New artists are putting vinyl records out that are collectible and unique. Sometimes with extra tracks that you wouldn’t normally hear, and the collectability is increased because of that,” Predovich said.

As the vinyl community expands, so does its impact on the music industry. More artists are venturing into the world of vinyl, releasing their music in this format, and fans are exploring new genres and artists they may have missed in the digital realm.

According to Predovich, the vinyl resurgence isn’t exclusive to younger generations. For those of the older generation, vinyls are nostalgic and provide a sense of comfort. 

“They feel like they’ve lost touch with the music, so they kind of want to relive their youth, and that process is listening to records,” Predovich said.

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About the Contributor
Emilia Bateman, Staff Writer
Emilia (Emma) is a sophomore at Carlmont and is a first-year media arts student. In her free time, she enjoys doing art, playing piano, and practicing volleyball. 2023-2024

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