LP Sales’ Exponential Increase Following The “Newtro” Trend… Korean MZs: “We Are Collectors.”
After the coronavirus pandemic, the music industry experienced a rapid growth trend, and the vinyl LP market has surpassed compact discs (CDs) in the United States for the first time in 35 years. Analysis suggests that the so-called Millennial and Zoomer generations’ nostalgia for retro sensibilities is changing the landscape of the music market in English-speaking countries.
According to the 2022 revenue report on the music industry published by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), last year, 41 million LPs were sold in the United States, but only 33 million CDs were sold.
The RIAA reported that the actual physical album market size was $17 billion, a 4% increase from the previous year. Among them, LPs accounted for 71% of the physical album market with $1.2 billion, a 17% increase from the previous year.
Although streaming currently dominates 84% of the US music market, the size of physical album sales, such as CDs and LPs, is still close to 80 million copies (11%) per year. LPs, an analog storage medium, rapidly declined in the music market in 1982 when CDs, a digital storage medium, were introduced.
In English-speaking countries, as various performances and music activities were curtailed due to the pandemic, the culture of enjoying music at home has become universal, contributing to the increase in CD and LP sales amidst the rapid growth of streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music.
Recently, domestic musicians have also released limited edition LP albums. Stella Jang, Naul, and Yerin Baek’s LP containing their first regular album was sold out on the day of its release. Naul also ranked first in LP sales last year. In commemoration of Deux’s 30th anniversary, Hyundo Lee is working on LP production, and Kim Hyun-chul is planning to release a new mini-album on LP in June.
This trend is not limited to established singers. Following their release of the 4th regular album in LP, BTS also produced a limited edition of LP and cassette tape to celebrate “Dynamite,” the first Korean singer to top the Billboard single chart in 2020, with all pre-orders sold out. Taeyeon and IU have also released limited edition LP and cassette tapes.
According to Yes24, a website for book and music sales, the growth rate of LP sales increased by 13.8% last year, rising for three consecutive years since 2020 (116.7%) and 2021 (47.3%). The age distribution of LP buyers was 0.9% in their teens, 16.5% in their twenties, 19.8% in their thirties, 35% in their forties, 21.2% in their fifties, and 6.6% in their sixties and above. Among them, the MZ generation, which is in their 30s and below, accounted for 37.2%.
For the MZ generation who are not familiar with LPs and cassette tapes, they are a new limited edition commemorative item, a good and a collectible item to decorate themselves with the culture they consume. In recent IT times, analogue LPs and cassette tapes are attractive as a unique and authentic music experience.