Music Streaming Might Actually Be Helping Vinyl Sales

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With the advent of digital recording and streaming services, the physical objects that for decades stored and played music could functionally be considered obsolete. But as the BBC reports, a new ICM Unlimited poll suggests that the Internet might actually be driving vinyl record sales.

In the survey of UK adults, 45 percent of vinyl consumers said they listened to an album on a streaming service like SoundCloud or Spotify before purchasing the record. While that might be good news for sales, it doesn’t actually meant those albums are getting played: 48 percent of those who had purchased vinyl in the last month reported that it hadn’t gotten any spins yet. Half of the consumers considered themselves “collectors.”

Fifty-two percent of respondents said they own and use a turntable, while 41 percent said they own one but don’t use it. Seven percent of surveyed vinyl consumers said they don’t even own a turntable. Of those polled, the highest percentage of vinyl buyers were in the 25 to 34 age range, and the lowest were in the 55 to 64 range, a piece of data that runs contrary to what many might consider the standard vinyl-buying demographic.

Vinyl sales are up in both the UK and U.S., Pitchfork reports, hitting a 21-year high in the UK in 2015. That trend seems to be continuing in 2016, perhaps bolstered by efforts like Record Store Day. Still, ICM also reports that most of music sales occur online (73 percent), most commonly on Amazon and iTunes.

Andrew Wiseman, head of ICM Unlimited, told the BBC: "It is still the case that less than 1 in 10 people are buying vinyl, and we shouldn't forget that it's still a relatively small part of the market."

If you’re a lapsed vinyl collector who’s considering picking up the habit again, consider going through that old stash—it might be worth quite a lot these days.