Nearly 35 Million Vinyl LPs Pressed Up in 2013

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That would be millions, yes, and hundreds of thousands of turntables and cartridges. Meanwhile, watch for the swipe taken at Jack White…

By Fred Mills

 Here’s hoping some unforeseen middle eastern turmoil doesn’t unfold anytime soon and kickstart a petroleum shortage like we had back in the late ‘70s, ‘cos the wild world of vinyl might wind up taking it on the chin like it did all those years ago. According to a new estimate put forth by the ever-diligent vinyl enthusiasts at AnalogPlanet.com, 33,799,783+ albums were manufactured last year, and all indications are that the number will rise in 2014. That’s a lot of wax, Jack.

 According to journalist Michael Fremer:

 Based on numbers publicly disclosed or provided to analogplanet.com by most of the world’s vinyl pressing plants, the total number of records pressed worldwide in 2013 was well in excess of 30,799,783. “Well in excess” because two major pressing plants refused to provide numbers. United Record Pressing in Nashville was unresponsive to analogplanet’s request as was Optimal in Germany. However, considering United’s commercial success and size it would reasonable to add at least 4,000,000 units to that total given the numbers provided by other pressing plants that did cooperate. Optimal’s total must be at least 1,000,000 as well.

The total therefore is probably closer to 35,000,000 and that omits pressing plants in Korea and South America. We believe the numbers provided by the plants are accurate and that there is a strong correlation between actual albums pressed and records sold. We base that on the fact that plants press only what’s ordered and what’s ordered by record companies tends to be conservative in order to not build up expensive inventories.

Fremer adds, in regards to the well-documented upswing in vinyl sales in the recent past (and no doubt continuing), “Wfeel reasonably safe in assuming that at least 30,000,000 records were sold in 2013, of which approximately 6,000,000 were sold domestically in America. However, based on the actual number of records pressed world-wide, we contend that the 6,000,000 record total reported by Nielsen/Soundscan well-underestimates actual 2013 American new vinyl sales and by a considerable amount.”

The article also reports stats on turntable and cartridge sales, indicating that “in excess of” 300,000 turntables were sold, no counting low end brands like Ion, Numark and Audio-Technica (or “groove chewers” like Crosley) and probably more than 100,000 cartridges. There was also a rather, um, pointed swipe at Jack White’s Third Man Records label that suggested 3M is “pushing dreck” that becomes “noisey and worn out” after just a relatively few plays. Meow!

Read the entire article here.

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