Nov. 6 - Downloads may be the future for music but believe it or not the vinyl record market is enjoying a revival. UK sales this year could exceed 700,000. Hayley Platt visits one of the last factories still manufacturing LPs.
They've survived the cassette, the 8-Track and even CDs. Vinyl records are still being made in large numbers. In fact they're having their best year in decades. UK sales have already doubled this year to 550,000 and could exceed 700,000 by Christmas. Bob Bailey works at The Vinyl Factory. It used to be owned by EMI and is one of the UK's last surviving record manufacturers. SOUNDBITE: Bob Baily, Consultant, The Vinyl Factory, saying (English): "Twenty years ago I was told go and find another job because vinyl is going to die now CDs are here. I'm still employed manufacturing vinyl. We have a tentative plan to be at least 15 years manufacturing and it is likely in my opinion to go on years and years after that." A recent survey by the BPI, the body that represents British music labels, showed the over 30s are the biggest buyers of LPs. And thanks to a wave of Indie rock banks like the UK's Arctic Monkeys and The Killers from the U.S., a new generation of fans are helping drive the revival. BPI's Gennaro Castaldo. SOUNDBITE: Gennaro Castaldo, Director of Communications, BPI (British Recorded Music Industry), saying (English): "They kind of made vinyl records cool again, I think the record companies felt it might be a good idea to maybe release some of their singles in vinyl form. It was really a form of promotion but the fact that the fans picked up on that, the bands loved it because it's a bit of a badge of honour to release on vinyl as part of the whole mythology around rock n' roll really. And it just gave the kiss of life to something that almost threatened to disappear altogether." In it's heyday EMI would have had around 100 presses running. Today the Vinyl Factory have just 6. SOUNDBITE: Bob Baily, Consultant, The Vinyl Factory, saying (English): "We produce high quality vinyl box sets. We're producing a lot of back catalogue. The Evergreens, we're always seeing The Beatles coming through. The Blue Album, The Red Album and The White Album." Vinyl remains a niche market and sales are still dwarfed by CDs. But its seems the old ways can work hand in hand with new technology. Some LPs come with free downloads. SOUNDBITE: Gennaro Castaldo, Director of Communications, BPI (British Recorded Music Industry), saying (English): "Often now you buy a vinyl album and get a digital code that allows you to get the digital equivalent so you get the best of all worlds." Elton John and David Bowie are still producing on vinyl. And it's not just for nostalgia purposes - LPs now account for 0.8% of the albums sold in the UK - six years ago it was just 0.1%