In line with the global trend, over 13 million vinyl albums were sold in the U.S. in 2016, a significant increase from one million units sold in 2007. Amazon is the most popular place to purchase a vinyl record in the U.S., accounting for nearly 40 percent of the market share.
Vinyl records are projected to sell 40 million units in 2017, with sales nearing the $1 billion benchmark for the first time this millennium. This impressive milestone has been untouched since the peak of the industry in the 1980s. While explosive by today’s standards, according to Deloitte, in its heyday (‘81), total vinyl album sales surpassed 1 billion units in just that year alone.
Fighting the loudness wars: Digital music engineering, particularly for radio-bound music, is often marred by a volume arms race, which leads to fatiguing, hyper-compressed songs that squish out the dynamics and textures that give recordings their depth and vitality. Vinyl's volume is dependent on the length of its sides and depth of its grooves, which means an album mastered specifically for the format may have more room to breathe than its strained digital counterpart. The longer an album, the quieter it gets: Gonsalves played me Interpol's lengthy debut album and a 12-inch Billy Idol single, and the decibel difference — without any distortion creeping in — was remarkable.
That warm vinyl sound: "I think this is what people like about it: it pins very closely to the way that human beings hear music organically," Gonsalves said. "It's very mid-range-y and very warm," a sound that flatters the fuzzy guitars of rock 'n' roll.