Return of vinyl as single sales sour

FORGET iPods and downloads, it seems the next big thing for music buyers in Ipswich is good old-fashioned vinyl.

FORGET iPods and downloads, it seems the next big thing for music buyers in Ipswich is good old-fashioned vinyl.

In the past five years the number of all the singles sold in the UK has soared six-fold and now exceeds one million for the first time since 1998.

According to figures from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), the number of seven inch singles rose from 178,831 in 2001 to 1,072,608 last year - and teenagers rather than the older generation are the main buyers.

Record stores in Ipswich are today delighted that vinyl is still alive and kicking.

Jessica Broad, 23, a customer services assistant at Virgin Megastores in Westgate Street, said: “We have definitely noticed an increase in demand for vinyl, certainly in the last year or so.

“We are buying a lot more in than we used to, due to increasing demand.

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“I would say it's the 16 to 25 age group that are buying it and I think it has a lot to do with people being really into a particular band.

“It's people who are really into their music, fans who like to get their favourite band's singles on every available version.

“People still like to be able to come into a record shop and actually walk out with something, not so much to listen to but just to have as a real collector's piece.”

Tom Ison, owner of Red Eye Records in Fore Street, which specialises in drum and bass and only sells vinyl, said: “From the point of view of our shop, people are buying vinyl to do their own DJ-ing with but, on the indie scene, I think seven inches have become popular because people like collecting something.

“They like the artwork and the fact that you actually have something physical to keep.

“It says something about your personality and your record collection.

“I think it will always be popular for those reasons.”

The return of vinyl is also influencing the make-up of the Top 40.

The Denial Twist, a single by The White Stripes, recently made it into the Top Ten on the back of vinyl sales alone while Arctic Monkeys, currently one of Britain's biggest-selling acts, sell two thirds of their singles on vinyl.


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ONE Ipswich band hoping to join the vinyl revolution is The NovaSouls, who feature on the Evening Star's Breakthrough CD.

Chris Waters, of the band, said they had noticed an increase in people wanting to buy their music in the traditional way.

He said: “I think everybody downloads so much music now but it's still nice to have something more tangible that you have in your house rather than it being on an iPod somewhere amongst loads of other songs.

“The vinyl market exists in the limited edition market, people will still buy CDs for the ease of it but the limited releases tend to be on vinyl rather than the major albums.

“Some people think it sounds better and I think records probably do sound better than a lot of downloads. People say there's a lot more warmth in vinyl.

“The irony now is that people are deliberately putting that vinyl crackle on CDs now and are spending millions to make them sound more like vinyl.”

Mr Waters said the cost of producing vinyl meant that The NovaSouls hadn't yet released any music on vinyl, although they want to.

He said: “It is quite expensive to produce vinyl so there is a limited run that are made and sold to the closest fans.

“If the price was right I'd definitely do it because I'd rather do that than just put out singles in the internet.”


N You can buy the Evening Star Breakthrough CD from our offices at 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, and 172 Hamilton Road, Felixstowe. It costs £5.99.

Alternatively, you can get a copy by sending a cheque for £5.99 made payable to Archant Regional Ltd, plus £1.25 for postage and packaging, to Evening Star Breakthorugh CD offer, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN

The seven inch 45 rpm vinyl disc replaced the twelve inch 78rpm.

The late 1950s and the rise of rock'n'roll was the golden era of the seven inch, and the seven inch dominated the singles market for the next three decades,

During the early years of The Beatles a record would need to sell in excess of 750,000 copies to reach the number one spot, although towards the end of the 1960s the single was being written off with some of the Fab Four's singles only selling 250,000 copies. The rise in the popularity of the 12 inch LP album was then seen in the future.

However, sales of seven inch singles peaked in 1979 when 89 million were sold.