What goes around ... LPs groovy again

NEEDLES and spins are back in vogue, with records experiencing chart-topping popularity among south-west music lovers.

Statistics have revealed annual vinyl sales across Australia were the highest in more than a quarter-century and record stores in the Warrnambool region say the once out-moded musical format is making something of a comeback.

Sweet Little Hi-Fi proprietor Shane Godfrey said the trend started about five years ago and 2013 proved to be the biggest year yet in what has been dubbed the “vinyl revival”.

He said customers at his Warrnambool Independent Traders Market store ranged in age from teenagers to old rockers.

“People who are really into music — whatever genre that is — understand that vinyl is actually the purest form of listening to music,” Mr Godfrey said.

“Big Rolling Stones fans or Jimi Hendrix fans want to listen to the music in the format for which it was originally intended. 

“Having said that, plenty of contemporary bands are producing their stuff on vinyl and their fans are lapping it up too.”

Data from the Australian Recording Industry Association has revealed vinyl sales grew by 75 per cent in 2012, albeit off a low statistical base, while CD sales dropped seven per cent. The last year more records than CDs were sold in Australia was 1989.

Capricorn Records owner Michael Fitzgerald witnessed the demise of records in the early 1990s. He said the re-emergence of vinyl as a popular and accessible format has surprised many in the industry.

“Honestly, I thought vinyl was dead and for a time there it almost disappeared,” Mr Fitzgerald said.

“I think in the past four, five years there’s been a growing appreciation of vinyl in comparison to MP3 players and digital downloads, which don’t have that rich, full sound.”

Nostalgia still plays a big role in the vinyl revival, with south-west stores noting The Beatles, Black Sabbath and Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 album Rumours as popular turntable options.

But it’s not just rock classics selling well. Record sales for contemporary bands were at the highest level in Great Britain for nearly two decades, with British rock group Arctic Monkeys’ AM the biggest-selling record last year.

“Early Beatles albums like Revolver and Rubber Soul are popular. Hendrix is also a big seller,” Mr Fitzgerald said. “It’s amazing how vinyl has this cross-generational appeal.”

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