10 Biggest Selling Vinyl Albums Of The Year So Far

1. Vinyl sales in the UK are higher than they have been since 2003. The BPI and the Official Charts Company estimate that sales of vinyl albums could surpass 700,000 by the end of 2013. Here are the top selling vinyl albums of the year so far – starting at number 10, which is Black Sabbath’s album ‘13’.

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2.  Next up – at number 9, it’s Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ record ‘Push The Sky Away’. The NME review of the album back in February described it as “a masterpiece that merges the experimentation and freedom of their side projects with Cave’s most tender songcraft.”

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3.  The National returned earlier this year with their latest album ‘Trouble Will Find You’. That’s the 8th most popular album on vinyl in the UK in 2013.
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4.   Vampire Weekend’s magical third album ‘Modern Vampire’s Of The City’ – in at number 7.

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5.  Thom Yorke may not be a fan of streaming services like Spotify but the Radiohead man has long had an affinity for vinyl releases. ‘Amok’, his album with Atoms For Peace, is 6th.

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6.  Into the top 5 now. Queens Of The Stone Age ‘…Like Clockwork’ was released at the start of the summer. At the time it lost out in the battle for UK number 1 to Disclosure’s album ‘Settle’.
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7.  After a lengthy break Boards Of Canada released their new album ‘Tomorrow’s Harvest’ this year. NME’s review said: “’Tomorrow’s Harvest’ is a dark, often uncomfortable affair, more nuclear winter than summer anthem”. It’s number 4 in the list.
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8.  David Bowie goes top 3 with ‘The Next Day’. The legend took us all by surprise back in January by emerging from the shadows to release his first new album in a decade.
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9.  No surprise that Arctic Monkeys’ loyal following went out and bought their fifth album ‘AM’ in their droves. It remains one of the fastest selling albums of the year. Popular on vinyl too. In the month or so it’s been out it’s become the 2nd biggest selling album on vinyl of 2013.
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10.  And… 2013’s biggest selling album on vinyl in the UK so far is Daft Punk’s ‘Random Access Memories’. Not only is the music incredible, but there’s something about seeing that artwork blown up which makes it desirable for any collector of new releases.
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The Vinyl Countdown – Why Is Everyone Buying Records Again?

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In the midst of the worst times for the music business since the great semiquaver droughts of 1832, the BPI has just reported that annual sales of vinyl records have burst over the half-million mark for the first time in a decade. And it’s only October.

That’s a lot of records, bucking a trend that’s been going off a cliff for years. The number of vinyl records being sold has doubled since this time last year, and the format has increased its share of total albums sold in the UK by eight times since 2007.

So what’s going on here? Why are so many people buying records again?

The BPI survey uncovered an interesting age split in what people felt they were getting from vinyl. The vast majority of 16-44 year olds that they talked to said that the most important reason was that “the process of playing a vinyl record is more enjoyable.” It seems like a world of instant gratification, the ritual of dropping a needle onto an LP has taken on an almost religious significance. The popularity of free download links is also surely significant – why just buy mp3s when you could buy an actual real-life record and get the mp3s included?

Meanwhile, under 16s are most concerned with the cover art (presumably it’s just nice for them to look at something that isn’t on a screen) while over 45s are hanging onto their audiophile belief that records just sounds better (man!).

Remarkably, almost 4% of vinyl-buyers surveyed said that they don’t even own a record player, which means there’s something like 20,000 LPs out there that are either just being bought as objets d’art or for their more traditional purpose: as flat surfaces to roll joints on.

As reported earlier this week, it’s not just classic albums being sold.  But you won’t be surprised to know that Daft Punk, David Bowie and Arctic Monkeys have all been enjoying bumper sales.

Part of the popularity of newer bands’ releases on vinyl seems to be down to the emergence of a younger group of record junkies. While 35-44 year olds are still the most likely to buy LPS, over a third of buyers are aged under 35. So in the future, when CDs have gone the way of the minidisc, and when all the music ever recorded is hovering us above us in the cloud, there will still be people with big black discs in their homes, not quite sure whether to play them or frame them, but sure that they can hold onto them with both hands, and that they mean something.

Check this out: 10 Biggest Selling Vinyl Albums Of The Year So Far

Vinyl is growing out of its niche

Thomas Bernich, who founded Brooklyn Phono in 2000, at his factory, which he says now produces around 440,000 LPs a year.  Photo: Andrea Mohin

Thomas Bernich, who founded Brooklyn Phono in 2000, at his factory, which he says now produces around 440,000 LPs a year. Photo: Andrea Mohin

Weaned on CDs, They’re Reaching for Vinyl -  By Allan Kozinn

There were always record collectors who disdained the compact disc, arguing that an LP’s grooves yielded warmth and depth that the CD’s digital code could not match.

But the market largely ignored them. Record labels shuttered their LP pressing plants, except for a few that pressed mostly dance music, since vinyl remained the medium of choice for D. J.s.

As it turned out, that early resistance was not futile, thanks largely to an audience of record collectors, many born after CDs were introduced in the 1980s.

These days, every major label and many smaller ones are releasing vinyl, and most major new releases have a vinyl version, leading to a spate of new pressing plants.

When the French electronica duo Daft Punk released “Random Access Memories” in mid-May, 6 percent of its first-week sales — 19,000 out of 339,000 — were on vinyl, according to Nielsen SoundScan, which measures music sales.

Other groups with a predominantly college-age audience have had similar success: the same week, the National sold 7,000 vinyl copies of its latest album, “Trouble Will Find Me,” and 10,000 Vampire Weekend fans opted for the LP version of “Modern Vampires of the City.” When the Front Bottoms, a New Jersey indie band, posted a photo of their players carrying stacks of LP mailing boxes on their Facebook page recently, their label, Bar/None, racked up what Glenn Morrow, who owns the label, described as “phone orders for $2,000 worth of LPs in 10 minutes.”

A growing number of classic albums — including the complete Beatles and early Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan catalogs — have had vinyl reissues in recent years as well.

Michael Fremer, who monitors the LP world on his Web site, Analogplanet.com, said: “None of these companies are pressing records to feel good. They’re doing it because they think they can sell.”

About a dozen pressing plants have sprouted up in the United States, along with the few that survived from the first vinyl era, and they say business is so brisk that they are working to capacity. Thomas Bernich, who started Brooklyn Phono in 2000, says his company makes about 440,000 LPs a year, but a giant like Rainbo Records, in Canoga Park, Calif., turns out 6 million to 7.2 million, said Steve Sheldon, its general manager.

One plant, Quality Record Pressings, in Salina, Kan., opened in 2011 after its owner, Chad Kassem, grew impatient with delays at a larger plant where his own line of blues reissues was being pressed. His company, which runs four presses — acquired used, but modified to run more efficiently — now makes LPs for all the majors, and lists Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Nirvana reissues among its recent projects. He is currently pressing 900,000 vinyl discs a year.

“We’ve always had more work than we could do,” Mr. Kassem said. “When we had one press, we had enough orders for two. When we had two, we had enough orders for four. We never spent a dollar on advertising, but we’ve been busy from the day we opened.”

There is a limit to how much the vinyl business can expand right now. When it seemed inevitable that CDs would supplant LPs, the companies that made vinyl presses shifted to making other kinds of machinery. The last new press was built in 1982, so relatively recent start-ups like Quality and Brooklyn Phono searched out used presses (the going rate is about $25,000) and reconditioned them. Most plants have deals with local machine shops to make replacement parts.

Some pressing plants have looked into commissioning or building new presses but have found the cost prohibitive — as much as $500,000, said Eric Astor of Furnace MFG in Fairfax, Va. “Since my partner also owns a CD/DVD plant,” Mr. Astor said in an e-mail, “we’ve been testing using the methods used in disc manufacturing to make a new breed of vinyl record, but that R&D is slow going and not looking promising.”

How are LPs selling? That is a matter of dispute. David Bakula, Nielsen SoundScan’s senior vice president of client development and insights, said that his company tracked 4.6 million domestic LP sales last year, an 18 percent increase over 2011, but still only 1.4 percent of the total market, made up mostly of digital downloads (which are increasing) and CDs (for which sales are declining). This year, Mr. Bakula said, vinyl sales are on track to reach about 5.5 million.

But manufacturers, specialist retailers and critics argue that SoundScan’s figures represent only a fraction of actual sales, perhaps as little, Mr. Kassem and Mr. Astor said, as 10 to 15 percent. They say that about 25 million vinyl discs were pressed in the United States last year, and many more in Europe and Asia, including some destined for the American market.

Mr. Bakula countered that manufacturers are speaking of the number of discs made; SoundScan tracks how many were sold. But the manufacturers argue that LPs, unlike CDs, are a one-way sale: labels do not accept returns of unsold copies. Therefore labels and retailers are careful to order only what they think they can sell. Moreover, LP jackets do not consistently carry bar codes — Mr. Kassem, for one, leaves them off his discs because, he said, “they’re ugly” — and therefore cannot be scanned at the cash register. And many shops that sell LPs are independents that do not report to SoundScan, although Mr. Bakula said his company weights its figures to account for that.

There are other measures of the health of the field, including figures from ancillary businesses. Heinz Lichtenegger, whose Vienna-based Audio Tuning company produces the highly regarded Pro-Ject turntable, said in an e-mail that his company sells 8,000 turntables a month. And Mr. Fremer has sold 16,000 copies of a DVD, “21st Century Vinyl,” that shows users how to set up several turntable models.

Vinyl retailers are thriving as well. Mr. Kassem of Quality Record Pressings also runs Acoustic Sounds, which sells LPs as well as turntables and accessories, including cleaning machines and protective sleeves. Music Direct, a Chicago company that owns Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab, a storied audiophile label, has a similarly broad stock, including a selection of turntables that ranges from the $249 Music Hall USB-1 to the $25,000 Avid Acutus. Josh Bizar, the company’s director of sales and marketing, said that Music Direct sold 500,000 LPs and “thousands of turntables” last year.

And the buyers, Mr. Bizar said, are by no means boomer nostalgists.

“When you look at the sales for a group like Daft Punk,” he said, “you’re seeing young kids collecting records like we did when we were young.”

“We never expected the vinyl resurgence to become as crazy as it is,” he said. “But it’s come full circle. We get kids calling us up and telling us why they listen to vinyl, and when we ask them why they don’t listen to CDs, they say, ‘CDs? My dad listens to CDs — why would I do that?’ ”

Bleecker Street Record Store moved to its new location in the West Village, NYC – NO Starbucks!

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Bleecker Street Records moved to its new location right around the corner, in a new space at 188 West 4th St. between Jones and Barrow, West Village, NYC 10014. Phone: 212-255-7899.

Let’s hope the record shop’s new landlord lets them keep Skuzzball and Creeper, the store’s ginormous cats, one of whom graces their T-shirt–which, by the way, is currently available in a very cool purple on black.

Rush before they’re sold out. Who knows, you may bump into Mick Jagger!

 

Update #4: Here’s the new address for Bleecker Street Records: 188 West 4th Street, West Village, NYC 10014.  Phone: 212-255-7899. They are in the process of moving.  They buy and sell NEW & USED VINYL LP’s / 45rpm’s / CD’s / DVD’S plus POSTERS / T-SHIRTS / & 2 HUGE CATS haha!

Update #3: Good news: The Bleecker Street Record Store is relocating! They found a better space and location on 4th St about 2 blocks from the store they were forced to give up.  They’re moving to the new place in a few days.  We’ll publish the address of the new location after they move. So, you still can catch the cool cats at the Bleecker Street Record Store!

Update #2: As of today 21 June 2013, the store’s still open. Keep your fingers crossed! Greedy landlord.

Update #1: The store will remain open until mid-May when the lease expires.

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Another West Village rent increase victim: Bleecker Street Records to close in April.

Bleecker Street Record Store is more than a music landmark, it’s a place for discovering and buying amazing vinyl records, get together with friends to talk about music and, if you get lucky, meet some rock stars. Last week I was at the store a few minutes after it had open in the morning. While I was there I bumped into Jimmy Page, the guitarist of Led Zeppelin, who was looking at some vintage records, and we talked about the sad news that the store may soon close due to rent hike.

Bleecker Street Records has been in business for more than 20 years. A review in New York Magazine points out that a customer might find anything from a high-quality Japanese vinyl pressing of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “Wedding Album” to an autographed copy of “Eat ‘Em and Smile,” and that the store is also home to three cats.

But 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported the store will probably close in April, because the new landlord plans to jack up the rent to $27,000 a month. Chris Simunek believes that trend is running the Village.

“It’s absurd,” he said. “You know, what’s going to go in there is a Starbucks or something , or just something that we already have plenty of.”

Another man called Bleecker Street Records an old-fashioned mom-and-pop-style store.

“I’m a guy who goes to a lot of record stores, and I appreciate them – and little by little, especially over the past five years, they’ve all closed down,” he said.

The real estate Web site RKF.com shows the storefront up for rent, along with a sketch featuring an overhead sign reading “Good Property.” The advertisement notes the storefront is flanked by upscale neighbors such as Amy’s Bread, David’s Tea, L’Occitane en Provence, Murray’s Cheese, Rocco’s, and a soon-to-open 16 Handles.

20121120-jimmy-page-cover-picture-286x389-1353453010Retail music has been in sharp decline over the past decade, with nearly all of the major corporate chains having dwindled or vanished. Tower Records shut down all its U.S. retail stores in 2006 and continues only as an online retailer, Coconuts records closed most of its stores several years ago and now operates only five Tri-State area locations under the F.Y.E. name, and Borders Books and Music went out of business altogether in 2011.

Some smaller record stores have remained in business, and rekindled an interest in vinyl records. But published reports said within the Village alone, another record store – Bleecker Bob’s at 118 W. 3rd St. – will soon be closing after more than 40 years in business, also due to a rent increase.

Mr. Rookard, a 35-year Village resident, told the New York Times the change fit the area’s continuing pattern of gentrification. “All that will be left down here are A.T.M.’s and bars, if anything,” he said.

Watch the Beastie Boys video “Open Letter to NY” (Bob’s shoutout included), below…

Bleecker Bob’s, which began as Village Oldies Records in 1968, on Bleecker Street, and moved to two other locations before ending up at No. 118, had many rock ’n’ roll moments. Jimmy Page, Led Zeppelin’s guitarist, tended the register there occasionally, as did Frank Zappa, according to employees, who said both musicians were friends with Bob Plotnick, the store’s owner.

In the late 1970s, the store sold punk rock records when few other shops did, customers and employees remembered. Even the building itself, near Macdougal Street, brushed up against fame: in the 1960s, it was also home to the Night Owl Cafe, where the Lovin’ Spoonful often played, Mr. Wiedener said.

Asked if the record store would possibly remain in the location and the space would go off the market, Ezra said there was “no chance.”

City property records show a buyer using the name 239 Bleecker Partners LLC purchased the entire landmarked building, which has apartments on the upper floors, in January 2012 for $3.95 million.

Bleecker Street Records employee Dino Hallas touted the “richness” of records compared to CDs and MP3s, and struck down the notion that consumers had lost interest in vinyl.

“It’s all lies that there’s no market for records anymore,” he said. “It’s just the leases. Landlords just want to get paid.”

Customer Charlie Frohne, 30, said Bleecker Street Records’ selection of classic punk and reggae records has brought him into the store every month for the past four years.

“Record stores disappear and it’s really disappointing,” he said. “This feels like part of New York.”

Bleecker Street is a street in New York City’s Manhattan borough. It is perhaps most famous today as a Greenwich Village nightclub district. The street is a spine that connects a neighborhood today popular for music venues and comedy, but which was once a major center for American bohemia.

Bleecker Street connects Abingdon Square, the intersection of Eighth Avenue and Hudson Street in the West Village, to the Bowery in the East Village.

Nearby sites include Washington Square Park and music venue Cafe Wha?, where Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Springsteen, Kool & the Gang, Bill Cosby, Richard Pryor, and many others began their careers. The club CBGB, which closed in 2006, was located at the east end of Bleecker Street, at the corner of Bowery.

Read more about Bleecker Street in Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bleecker_Street

First Listen Track By Track – My Bloody Valentine, ‘mbv’

Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine. Photo: PA

Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine. Photo: PA

My Bloody Valentine are an alternative rock band formed in Dublin, Ireland in 1983. The band’s lineup has consisted since 1987 of founding members Kevin Shields (guitar and vocals) and Colm O Ciosoig (drums) with singer-guitarist Bilinda Butcher and bassist Debbie Googe.

As My Bloody Valentine’s music evolved, their use of distortion, pitch bending, and digital reverb resulted in a sound that came to be known as shoegazing. The group’s seminal 1991 album Loveless, which took nearly two years to make and nearly bankrupted their record label Creation Records, received extensive critical acclaim and remains iconic. Following Loveless, My Bloody Valentine became inactive, with Shields rumored to have recorded – and shelved – several albums’ worth of songs. In mid-2007, Shields announced that the band had reunited and were working on new material. The band subsequently toured across Europe and the U.S. The band’s third album, MBV, was released in 2013 via their website, which subsequently crashed. Powered by Wikipedia

The band have uploaded their long-awaited new album on YouTube.

The nine-track follow-up to 1991’s ‘Loveless’, titled ‘mbv’, was released at midnight (GMT) on the evening of February 2 via a brand new website for the band. Shortly after, they posted all nine tracks on YouTube.

The album is sold as a download only, CD and download or as a 180g vinyl, CD and download package. The vinyl and CD packages will be posted within three weeks of purchase date, but the download is immediate.