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Vinyl buyers are now younger and more diverse, record shop owners report ahead of Record Store Day

By | Published on Tuesday 8 June 2021


Ahead of the first Record Store Day of the year this Saturday, organisers of the event have revealed some insights from a recent survey of the people running more than 140 of the independent record shops taking part this year. The key findings are that it’s not just old timers fuelling the vinyl revival and that the customer base of the average record store is becoming more diverse too.

Two thirds of those surveyed said that they’d seen a considerable rise in the number of young people buying vinyl, a trend that has helped vinyl sales in the UK to continue to grow in recent years. RSD organisers note that 75,000 vinyl albums were sold in the UK in 2008, compared to five million in 2020. And vinyl sales in the first half of this year were 46% up on the same period last year.

Commenting on the ongoing vinyl revival, one of the respondents to the survey, Jack LeFeuvre of Le Freak Records in Dundee, says: “We see lots of young people buying vinyl in our store and I think it’s slowly becoming a norm in terms of how people want to listen to music nowadays. Nearly every artist will release a special vinyl edition as part of their album campaign and that is something that many music fans don’t want to miss out on”.

“I think people got fed up and frustrated with everything becoming ‘digital’ and if you love an artist there’s nothing more exciting than being able to hold the artwork, read the liner notes and enjoy the experience of listening to an album from start to finish”, he adds. “When we first opened we were always asked if [vinyl] was a fad but it’s popularity has only continued to rise and proved the naysayers wrong”.

More than 60% of the record shop owners surveyed also reported that growing numbers of female consumers are buying music from their stores, meaning the clientele of those shops is not as male dominated as it possibly was in the past.

Noting how the classic record shop was portrayed in the 1995 Nick Horny novel ‘High Fidelity’, Ashlie Green from David’s Music in Letchworth says: “Record shops have had a history of being fairly male dominated spaces – but the ‘High-Fidelity-esque’ days are definitely over as more and more women are enjoying vinyl. Not only are there more women behind the counter but the spaces themselves are much more welcoming to all people of all ages”.

“Record Store Day is a great driver for that too”, she adds, noting that the special releases made available on the day are “so eclectic” that the initiative “brings in music lovers from every background for what is normally a big party!”