CDs and vinyl given fresh life through ‘multi-channel’ music streamers, study finds

CD sales decline has softened this year, while vinyl album sales continue to surge despite the rise of streaming

Vinyl album sales continue to surge, up 50% in 2015, despite the rise of streaming AFP

Are you a “multi-channeler” who discovers new music on streaming and then snaps up a vinyl copy of your new favourite artist? New research suggests that the traditional CD and vinyl formats can enjoy a peaceful co-existence with their digital successors instead of a zero-sum battle for the record industry’s future.

An AudienceNet study suggests an unexpected relationship between streaming platforms such as Spotify and CDs & vinyl that has helped to usher in a new multi-channel era in music consumption, which may help to extend the life of physical formats.

The survey found that two thirds (66 per cent) of music fans consider themselves “multi-channel listeners”, either agreeing or strongly agreeing with the statement: “I stream to discover music and see what’s popular, but when I come across something I love, I like to buy it.”

The results may explain the resilience of the CD – the sales decline has softened this year – while vinyl album sales continue to surge (up 50% in 2015), despite the rise of streaming, which is set to eclipse downloads as the most popular digital format. The number of streams recorded in the UK this year is set to reach 25bn.

The BPI welcomed the survey. A spokesman said: “Many fans value the opportunity to also purchase music by the artists they love, whether on CD, vinyl or downloads. This is driven, the survey suggests, by a desire to emotionally engage with the recording and the cover artwork that comes with it – to own, collect and interact with it.”

The Compact Disc is far from dead, said Geoff Taylor, BPI Chief Executive. “The enduring appeal of compact discs and vinyl has surprised many commentators who wrote them off years ago.  But these physical formats still represent over 40 per cent of UK music consumption, after decades of success.”

Gifting remains a key factor, accounting for one in five CD purchases year-round, a figure likely to increase significantly in the run-up to Christmas.

Kim Bayley, Chief Executive of the Entertainment Retailers Association, said:  “This research suggests music fans are a great deal more nuanced in their approach to new forms of technology than they are sometimes given credit for. They understand there are some benefits which streaming can deliver better than CD or vinyl and vice-versa.  It is important, therefore, that the industry responds to this and ensures that music is available how and when music fans want it.”

Despite the collapse of several major retail chains, there are now more than 10,000 High Street outlets that stock CD and vinyl across the UK

From the Independent

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