Radiohead responsible for surge in vinyl sales?

With the release and hype surrounding the 2007 Radiohead release In Rainbows, die hard fans (of which there are many, including myself) were keen to get the box set for £40. Unlike later experiments by Nine Inch Nails, the only options were digital copies or the full box set which included CDs, digital photographs, bonus tracks, two 12" vinyl records and an art book, and it seemed many fans I knew bought this regardless of whether they had a record player or not.

So what happens when records are put in the hands of self-confessed music aficionados like Radiohead fans? They get a record player either cheap, from Freecycle or ask their Dad for one. Then probably go and buy a load more vinyl.

According to the L.A. Times Music blog, american vinyl sales jumped up 90% from 2007 and 2008. The figure continues to rise, with 1 million being sold so far in 2009 compared to 701,000 at the same point last year, with predictions from Soundscan suggesting 2.8 million vinyl records will be sold by the end of the year (note these are figures for the U.S.).

Can we underestimate the effect Radiohead had on vinyl music culture? Considering they are one of the most respected and historic bands in the western music world, I think not.

Subscribe to Tom Davenport

Don’t miss out on the latest issues. Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.