The income boost that many artists and labels get from vinyl record sales is in danger of shrinking. This year vinyl sales grew just 2% compared to 12% in 2016, according to new data from Nielsen Music.
“It’s flattening out,” Steve Sheldon, president of Los Angeles pressing plant Rainbo Records told ChannelNews. But Sheldon doesn’t see a bubble. After all, pressing plants are still busy. But he does believe that vinyl is “getting close to plateauing.”
Is It A Quality Problem?
Others blame quality. “They’re re-issuing [old albums] and not using the original tapes” to save time and money says vinyl expert Michael Fremer, editor of AnalogPlanet.com. “They have the tapes. They could take them out and have it done right—by a good engineer. They don’t.”
Sometimes labels are putting music sourced from both tapes and digital files on the same vinyl record, creating uneven releases. Often “labels are kind of hiding what’s really happening,” says Russell Elevado, a two time Grammy winning studio engineer and producer.
Another factor may be cost. As demand and material prices have risen, so has the cost to consumers.