Last week, under the heading What the Vinyl “Comeback” Really Looks Like, the Digital Music News website published an official RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) sourced vinyl sales graph tracing record sales over the past four decades. The piece seemed like a direct attempt to put a halt to those recurring news stories of the past several years that have been ceremoniously heralding vinyl's return to grace and sales. The article seems to join the opinion of many insiders who say that these typical "Return of Records" stories, usually published around Record Store Day, over-hype and overemphasize the so-called vinyl renaissance. Yes, vinyl has made a slight resurgence in general interest as well as sales (especially over the past decade), but these reports often make it seem like vinyl might be making bigger strides in the market than it actually is.
Hence why, it seems, that Digital Music News (DMN) published the above graph showing the actual figures and percentages of increase in vinyl sales dating all the way back to 1973, the heyday of LP sales, back when the there were no CDs or digital downloads to compete with vinly LPs, EPs, and singles (the only competition being cassettes and 8-tracks). Interestingly no article accompanied the graph, but the comments for the article quickly filled up with varying opinions. Many agreed with the article's overall message but argued such points as the fact that the graph only figured in large scale and major label record releases (ones that are registered via SoundScan) and did not factor in all of the small label and self-released vinyl pressings out there (a lot!) that may not register with the RIAA, and that it was based on new records -- not including the healthy used record business.