Vinyl vs streaming: What music industry experts predict for the two platforms in 2017

From the Independent

‘I don’t know when it’s going to run out of steam,’ says an independent label owner. ‘Now people are into vinyl – we just opened a new shop in Brighton and we haven’t had a shop since 2004’ Getty/iStockphoto

​One of the most interesting things about Ed Sheeran’s phenomenal album sales was the number of physical units he shifted.

Sales of CD and vinyl for ÷ [Divide] made up 62 per cent of total sales – including a score of the biggest one-week vinyl album sale in more than 20 years.

Obviously Sheeran isn’t your average artist, but it does make expert predictions that vinyl sales are unlikely to decline over the next few years look all the more promising.

This increase in sales has accompanied the sharp rise in the use of streaming services, up 500 per cent from 2013, and industry figures currently seem to be working out how the two formats can work together.

Paris-based firm Deezer is going to considerable lengths to encourage fans to engage with physical music formats as well as online ones.

​Sulinna Ong, VP of Artist Marketing at the company’s HQ in London, says that the role of streaming companies is going to be “even more important in increasing an artist’s profile”.

“One of our focuses is, how do we tell the artist’s story beyond the playlist?” she says. “And have people care and connect… because that’s what turns someone from a casual listener to someone who goes to concerts.”

Deezer Next was launched as a strategy to help develop “close, long-term relationships” between the streaming platform, artists and their teams.

“We are shifting away from the traditional album format so we need to show artists that we’re going to be working with them,” Ong says.

“One thing that is consistent for all artists is that they want their music heard. How we do that – the focus for me in the marketing department – is to figure out how we make a campaign that’s unique for them. All the artists really care about is that people are listening and connecting with their music, and we want to make sure the way we make that happen is authentic.”

Ong believes that vinyl will always have a place in the music industry, and that a balance can be created between streaming and physical sales.

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