Oh, happy day! Music sales have finally reversed their perpetual downward trend over the past several years, and, in an unprecedented display of humanity, the RIAA has opted to discontinue their tyrannical opposition to gratuitous file-sharing!
If only fate were so kind. As it turns out, overall album sales in the US did, remarkably, show a slight increase in 2011, but the more significant news at the moment pertains the sales of vinyl records, which have grown every year for the past six years and which increased by 25% in 2011, from 2.8 million in 2010 to 3.5 million. Have vinyl record manufacturers felt the urge to contact their doctors yet? Because this commercial erection appears to be lasting way longer than four hours.
What could possibly account for the ongoing resurgence of a medium that was previously shunned for its supposed obsolescence? Ironically, it may have something to do with the physical prominence and relative indispensability of records themselves — in other words, as a way of implicitly counteracting the digitization of music and entertainment in general, people have returned their interest to a format that requires their attention and may be a greater signifier of their passion for music than something as impersonal and easily discarded as MP3s. That’s just one theory though. Given how objectively inferior the sound quality of records are when compared to CDs, I’d like to chalk it up to some form of misplaced elitism, but I’m also quite willing to appreciate the fact that records do have their appeal, even if that appeal is based entirely on the subjective preference of the listener. Don’t hate.
Meanwhile, here is the top 10 best-selling vinyl albums of 2011, all by really white artists:
01. The Beatles - Abbey Road (41,000)
02. Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues (29,700)
03. Bon Iver - Bon Iver (27,200)
04. Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More (26,800)
05. Radiohead - The King of Limbs (20,800)
06. Adele - 21 (16,500)
07. Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago (16,200)
08. Wilco - The Whole Love (14,900)
09. The Black Keys - Brothers (14,200)
10. The Black Keys - El Camino (13,800)
• Vinyl: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vinyl