An employee at a Fred Meyer store in Portland, Oregon mistakenly ordered vinyl LPs of R.E.M.'s latest album, Accelerate, instead of the CD-DVD version, and a funny thing happened: 20 of the vinyl copies sold the first day they were put on the shelves. Now this retailer is going to stock the format that the music industry hoped would die a quarter century ago in 60 of its stores in Oregon, Washington and Alaska.
“It's not just a nostalgia thing,” Melinda Merrill, spokeswoman for Fred Meyer, told an AP reporter. “The response from customers has just been that they like it, they feel like it has a better sound.” Other large companies like Best Buy are testing the waters for wax, too. Amazon.com created a vinyl-only section on its site last fall, as well.
Manufacturers' shipments of vinyl records increased more than 36 percent from 2006 to 2007, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, reaching a total of more than 1.3 million. Vinyl sales still lag way behind those of CDs and digital downloads, but many consumers are realizing that the analog format still has some crackling, popping life in it. The tables may be turning for vinyl yet.
Here's a news segment by CBS Sunday Morning that touches on this phenomenon.