Why don’t 50% of vinyl buyers own a turntable?


Two serious studies conducted by the IFPI and Billboard show that about half (48%) of vinyl record buyers do not own a turntable. Like a jewel that is put on display but not worn, are vinyl records becoming collectible objects that are put in storage or framed on the wall without ever being listened to?

Some key figures

In 2021, Adele achieved the best sales performance for vinyl, with 37,000 records sold in a year. In comparison, in 2022, Taylor Swift sold 62,000 vinyl records of her album Midnights in one week in the UK. In 1987, the sales of CDs exceeded those of vinyl records. This has no longer been the case since 2022. The CD’s 35-year rule has come to an end. The price increase on vinyl records has not stopped the trend: the price of new vinyl records has increased by over 10% since the COVID-19 pandemic, without counting inflation.

Vinyl in the 21st century

NFC chips, a move towards high-definition (HD vinyl records were abandoned for good in 2022), colorful makeovers and smartphones that become records… None of these failed attempts were a catalyst for vinyl sales. Are appealing album covers and the vintage charm of vinyl records the only reasons for soaring sales?

Music, collectable or decoration?

One may wonder why anyone would want to buy a record that they are not going to listen to. As an audiophile or music lover, this question can be perplexing. But from the point of view of the collector or the unconditional fan, it takes on a whole new meaning. Just as people collect shoes without wearing them, many shoppers buy records to “own” the music they love. Moreover, it is not uncommon for these same people to listen to this music via a network player or CD player!

Strange habit or common occurrence?

Some people don’t have room for an entire hi-fi system, or tell themselves they’ll buy the turntable later. Is it so strange to want to buy something you like? Buying a CD is, for many, archaic (and for the least, quite banal) whereas vinyls are a pure, almost original form of the recorded music. They represent 120 years of history and have managed to outlive many of the physical audio formats that have existed. The vinyl record continues to be the ultimate musical object, and seeing one hanging on the wall or placed on a shelf can recall many memories or bring back past feelings and emotions associated with the music.

A way to support artists

Buying a vinyl record is also an effective way for many bands to get support. Artists’ earnings may seem just as absurd as buying a record without being able to listen to it: a band whose music is played a million times on a given platform will not necessarily have the perfect life that we imagine. So if we add the previous arguments, buying music on vinyl directly from a band without having a turntable makes a lot of sense.

Music is impalpable and for many, what could be more normal than to materialize it in the form of a vinyl record, the only intergenerational musical support? In addition to reminding us of the tune it contains and some cherished memories, buying a vinyl record is a way of paying tribute, cherishing music and supporting its creators.


  1. Another good piece, I play them but rarely as I have to wait for the wife to go shopping or baby sitting so I can play high volume. I was lucky when I went back to vinyl 4 years ago as my old collection going back 40 years was looked after by my son was returned. I still buy but prices have risen considerably.

  2. Anybody under the age of 45 is unaware that a vinyl disc is a lousy way to listen to music (snap, crackle, and pop). And those are the people who are buying these things. Oh, well, there’s a sucker born every minute, so why not just take these people’s parents’ money?

    • CDs compress the sound into digits. The sound of vinyl is brighter and warmer. It’s analog, so it reproduced the wave that sound us carried on. And if you take care of your records, they don’t have that noise. Buy a great stereo and you can hear the difference. On vinyl you can sit back and hear the whole album. In digital you just listen to hits. You don’t seem to understand anything about the difference tween analog and digital. Vinyl is a totally different experience.

    • I am not an expert on sound quality. I have been told by people who are knowledgeable that the quality of vinyl recordings is superior to any existing CDs or other electronic sources of music. There was, in my youth, the problems of “snap, crackle, pop”. By careful use and storage of vinyl records these problems could be avoided.

  3. CD’s and DVD audio are infinitely superior to vinyl, which wears out a little more every time you play it. I had hundreds on vinyl and hundreds on CD, ironically I just stream everything online these days. I think this generation is just trying to experience what their parents had back in the day

  4. I listen to my records, some from the early’70’s and love the sound. I also enjoy hearing the other songs that we never hear on streaming. If you don’t invest in a good turntable and stylist you will never get a good sound. Listening tonLP’s is an experience, kind of like making a good martini or a cappuccino. To each his own I guess.

  5. I generally listen to digital music due to my genetic hearing problems and portability. However, the source of this digital music is my collection of vinyl acquired in my youth and at garage and estate sales. This is reminiscent of what I would see my father and other audiophiles do decades ago. In order to have music at a party or just for ambient audio, they would spend an afternoon recording albums or single cuts onto reel-to-reel tape and then use that as the source of music: the original mix tapes.

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