It’s an exciting time to be a vinyl collector. Records sales are booming as new generations discover the magic of analog sound alongside long time vinyl enthusiasts.
While few in the music industry would have predicted this vinyl revival, we’re very excited to see the renewed passion for records. We’re currently expanding our top selling line of TunePhonik vinyl accessories, just in time for the holiday season. On that note, we’d like to share our favorite 2017 vinyl trends so far as well as some stuff that might really blow up come 2018.
5 Killer Vinyl Record Trends 2017
- #1) Colored Wax – The old school black licorice look you love is standard as far as records go. Back in the 1970s, many artists and music labels got creative by pressing colored records as well as other innovative so-called ‘craft vinyl’ designs. Today colored records are gaining in popularity as they entice collectors and help convey artists’ messages alongside cover art. Recent examples range from pop star Beyonce’s striking yellow Lemonade record to Beck’s highly anticipated 10th album Colors, which will include bright red wax on the deluxe version. Colored albums are also popping up as part of classic re-releases. You may have heard about the rare 50th anniversary edition of the Velvet Underground & Nico pressed on bright pink. We expect the colored and patterned records to increase in 2018 as artists explore unconventional ways to package their visions.
- #2) Streaming + Vinyl – Ok, we know the concept of streaming music and vinyl records sounds contradictory. After all, a big part of vinyl’s appeal is the immersive analog listening experience that can’t be replicated with digital music. We understand and respect this as a unique quality about vinyl, so please hear us out.
One of the (few) drawbacks of buying records is that they’re not really portable in the sense that you need a turntable to be able to listen to them. That’s why lots of physical records now include bonus downloads and apps exist to convert your LPs to digital files so you can take your whole collection with you wherever you go. In fact, some say streaming music services are exposing younger users to new music that spurs record sales. We see this a way digital and analog formats complement each other, which helps ensure vinyl’s longevity in the mainstream.
- #3) Sustainable Record Production – Gone are the days when consumers didn’t stop to consider the environmental impact of their buying habits. The shift in consumer behavior towards eco-friendly brands lead contemporary vinyl production plants to focus on sustainability as well as high tech automation to improve speed and efficiency. As we speak plans are in the works to develop renewable alternatives to PVC.
Of course the trend doesn’t end with vinyl presses. Every aspect of the album production process and the accessories you use with your collection are getting greener. We’re proud to lead the way on this matter; our vinyl record jacket line is made with Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) certified cardboard, which means the chipboard materials come from responsibly managed forests. It’s a good idea to look for the FSC® label on album packaging and encourage your favorite artists to work with FSC® affiliated printers or suppliers.
- #4) X-Ray Audio – X-ray records are an emerging trend with interesting origins. In the 1950s, music fans in the USSR used x-rays to make bootleg vinyl records to listen to American artists that were banned by the government. Discarded x-rays were plentiful, although the sound quality and shelf life of the unconventional records was poor. The records known as ‘bone music’ largely disappeared in the 1960s due to government crackdowns (watch the TED Talks video above for more of this fascinating story). X-ray records are making a comeback as vinyl plants offer personalized bone music, a unique way to recycle medical images that would otherwise end up at the local city dump.
- #5) Small Batch Records – Along the lines of the craft beer phenomenon, artists and vinyl pressing plants are finding new creative avenues through limited runs. Small batch records are becoming the bread and butter of independent vinyl factories, which are often better equipped to handle specialized production requests than corporate manufacturers. You’ll see a lot of colorful wax, X-rays, and other cool stuff coming out as small batches in the near future.
We can’t wait to see what 2018 brings to the vinyl industry. Did we overlook your favorite record trend? Share your wisdom with the community in the comments below!