Vinyl is close to collapse... again!

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I remember when vinyl records were all that was available, the days before CD and downloadable lossy formats.
I also remember the very last vinyl album I purchased: The Pacific Age by Orchestral Manoeuvres In the Dark, the last single: Black Box - Ride on Time (thank you to my mate Tim for borrowing it and leaving on the parcel shelf of his car on a hot day, bye bye Ride on Time).

As you can guess, this was the upper end of the mid-80's. This new format had started to take off, it was smaller, neater, more COMPACT, cheaper, held more songs, and subjectively sounded better. I am of course talking about the Compact Disc. The CD.

Music sales were always strong at this time, and yet somehow the CD saw music sales increase, probably because people re-purchased old albums on CD to replace their vinyl collection, and of course buy new songs/albums too. Something else that impressed the younger me, when you bought a single, you had side A and side B, and that was it. CD singles be they 5cm or 12cm singles often had 7" single tracks, along with a remix, a 12" version, and possibly another track from the current album, in all you could have, and I've seen up to 8 songs/mixes on a single CD single.

Absolutely no surprise to anyone, this killed vinyl sales, well not dead exactly, but certainly put vinyl in a coma for decades. Then in the early to late 2,000's along came the audiophile movement and a resurgence in vinyl sales. High end equipment started to trickle down in price, people had money to burn and limited edition limited runs of some of the best music made certainly helped.

Over the past 2 decades vinyl not only came back from the brink, it's now so popular and in demand, that factories that print the discs and sleeves can't keep up, and it can now take up to a year to get your song or album printed on vinyl.
The increased demand for vinyl, and fans’ fetishistic desire to own physical products in an era where intangible streaming culture has become the norm, makes it extremely disappointing for artists who are unable to get vinyl produced. Electro-soul artist Maria Uzor had already pushed the date of her self-released EP back a week because of vinyl delays. When we spoke in early August, she was weighing up whether to push the release back even further, or come to terms with the fact that the vinyl release would have to follow the digital one. It was “disappointing” and “frustrating”, she said, that pressing delays had forced her to refigure her release schedule when she had finished the songs months ago. Morrison too feels helpless in the case of album campaigns, the careful scheduling of which can be crucial to a record’s success. “I’m at the mercy of when the stuff gets delivered,” he said. “Any kind of release plan that I want to put around an artist is completely out of the window.”
It's incredible how this dead horse not only survived, but got up and started to beat the competition, so much so that it's now an industry crippled by delays when the weather is bad.

It's sad that I can't afford turntables and vinyl, I would love to hear records again and subjectively hear the differences in AAC/MP3/CD and vinyl, but that train has left for good for me.
You can read about problems vinyl is currently having on The New Statesman website (paywalled) ... obal-en-GB
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