Has vinyl become a luxury good?

Everyone loves vinyl.

You can hold your music in your hand, you can look at it, you can collected it, you can trade it, you can find fellow nerds to talk about it, you can make it looking ace, you can make it sound ace and different, you can cut loops and hidden signs into it, you can play it in a dj set, you can go to a store to buy it - where you also meet your friends to talk about music and the world, you can buy it directly from your beloved label from overseas on bandcamp to support them … the list goes on.

A lot of artists don´t really care about vinyl anymore. But a lot of other artists still do. And for some young and upcoming artists it´s one of their goals to release at least one vinyl.

But the thruth in 2021 is, the prices at the pressing plants went up by 20 - 30% this year. If you press a small amount of vinyls of 300 copies, you need to sell them all to cover production costs for the pressing plant. That is even before covering costs for mastering, artwork and GEMA (collecting society).

The only way around is to increase the customer end price (incl. VAT) from 10,00 EUR to 12,00 or even 13,00 EUR. And maybe the early prices of 8,00 EUR to 10,00 EUR were way to less anyway. Looking at the price history of vinyl that means, customer end price incl. VAT went up by 60 - 80 % since the changeover to the EUR.

How do you feel about vinyl these days? As an artists? As a collector? As a DJ? Running a label?

As a consumer I stopped collecting, as a label I stopped pressing 🤷

It’s just not that fun to me anymore tbh.

Also as an artist I stopped caring and trying to be on vinyl. I’m fine with digital or cassette releases.

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It’s not expensive enough to be a luxury good, but it is definitely a collectable more than just music. I’m fine with it.

I own a few vinyls but have recently been made aware that they’re pretty bloody awful, from an environmental point of view, so have stopped buying them.

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Records make very nice presents too…

I try to refrain my urge to buy vinyls because I lack space, but I still failed this week (the two last Godspeed You! Black Emperor + some Peter Kernel albums). I am just weak when it comes to music records.

But it’s definitely expensive, more like 20 to 30€ per vinyl, and the transport fees. So I’m usually reasonable and just get the bandcamp numeric album. Pretty convenient to share with friends, as they don’t all own a player.

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People are buying them. The lead time for getting a record pressed and manufactured is massive at the moment due to popularity. The prices you’ve quoted seem low, can you not get away with charging more?

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Same!

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Still buying black records for certain genres of music. Definitely not singles though, only albums of stuff that I can listen at home. Latest I bought was from Aril Brikha

I appreciate having materialized music, files don’t cut it for me. I would never release one myself though, I have too many friends stocking piles of unsold LPs at home.

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yep, you need a lot of patience these days!

Yep, and they’re not good for your health too.

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Was obsessed with vinyl for years when I was djing. Have never felt the same connection with any medium since and digital all feels disposable but I enjoy it differently and embrace the change. The feeling of tracking down a track or discovering an unheard gem in record shop can never be replaced clicking through an online store on the sofa but I still enjoy digging through bandcamp.

Have sold close to 10,000 of my collection over the last ten years and have about 5-600 left that I just can’t part with. Rarely buy a record these days unless it’s something collectable but even that’s rare.

Releasing on vinyl was a big deal for me as I started as a dj playing records and a personal goal was to spin my own records one day alongside the tracks I’d loved to play out so was a fond memory when that happened.

Never really got into cds which seem to be gone now with vinyl outselling them and vinyl now having its place in the market. Locally we have a few record stores and another one opening next month so there is definitely a market for vinyl

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This is my main issue.
I own a lot of records. I love the sound and the physicality of it.
The process of taking a record out of a sleeve, putting the stylus on, flipping it over, the occasional pops and hiss (particularly before and between tracks).
I know that sounds like massively pretentious twattery, but I didn’t know how much I missed it until I stopped doing it for a few years and went all digital
I also like the added value inherent in the investment.
There is SO much music around these days and you can listen to it all on Spotify.
Makes it all feel a bit meaningless to me. Buying a record is a commitment.

But the environmental aspect sits on my conscience.
Are they recyclable? Can you melt down a record and turn it into a new one?
I’ve got some shiters I’d be happy to donate for this.

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I agree with you on all points.
It’s been easy for me to give up the vinyl, as having two young kids means I get no time to listen to it anyway and it’s not as if using the internet doesn’t come with it’s own environmental issues either.

I don’t think anyone should feel bad about buying it, it’s a free country and there’s far worse things in the world, but it was an easy choice for me to stop buying it as part of my overall attempt to lessen the damage I’m doing.

As for how recyclable they are, I’m not sure. I know it’s basically impossible to recycle anything black apart from like one plant in Germany that does it, so I’d imagine it’s unlikely. Also, the main problem with “recycling” plastic here in the UK is that “recycling” often actually means "shipping it off to another, usually much poorer country and burning it as close to some children as possible".

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The enviromental impact of vinyl is another important point for sure. Vinyl is made from oil.

There are pressing plants that take your unsold records back and they melt it down. But not every pressing plant does that, there are pressing plants saying, recycled vinyl does not have the same quality as new. I´m not sure about this. But would be great to find a solution for using “used vinyls” to press new vinyls like with the glas bottles.

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As a techno DJ I started learning beatmixing with vinyl. Back in the day that was the only way to mix, there was simply no other option.

I still enjoy spinning records much more than playing with CDJ’s or USB, but nowadays a lot of clubs don’t even have turntables anymore. So I had to move on to digital. Which obviously also has some advantages.

I have a timecode vinyl system at home as well, just to get that vinyl feel while playing digital records :slight_smile:

I don’t buy much vinyl anymore nowadays, since it is much more expensive now and I cannot play them at a lot of clubs anyway…

I do occasionally buy one just for home.

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There’s a huge second hand market for vinyl so that’s one way of recycling and reusing. I have some records that are over 60 years old and still play so there’s the longevity of the product also

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I still love it. Love the sound, the feel, the smell. Etc

Not really a collector. Not a dj. Dont run a label. As an artist, I cant afford to get my own pressings, no one would buy them anyway.

Physical musical recordings are important. Vinyl is important. Magnetic tape is important. Compact discs are important.

The few records I have are precious to me.

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The first vinyl record I ever bought was the Tom Jones single “Green Green Grass of Home”.

I think it cost six shillings, which was about nine weeks pocket money.

Considering inflation, vinyl is probably still very cheap.

Being a bit of an audiophile, for my needs CDs eventually replaced my vinyl collection.

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I kind of hate this guy, hah. Self righteous much? Anyway, the enviromental impact of vinyl records of all things is ludicrously insignificant in the large scale.

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It’s not about how bad it is compared to other things. That sort of whataboutery ends in no-one doing anything because something is always worse. Personally, I’ve decided to consume music in the least environmentally damaging way I can, along with not using my car if I don’t have to and only eating meat occasionally and all the other choices I make to lessen my impact.
It’s none of my business what other people do and it’s not my place to be telling them what to do, either, I’m just doing what I think is the right thing for me and my family.

You’re right though, Benn Jordan is a little smug at times.

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