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Music Industry Grooving On Vinyl

The unexpected revival of vinyl record sales is having a residual effect on the healthiness of local, independent record stores, and a music industry group wants to keep the momentum going.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), a trade group for the recorded music industry, has organized “New Music Friday,” an effort to streamline the release dates of new records from around the world by moving them to Friday.

Traditionally, new music releases are staggered by country, with new titles coming out Monday in England and France, Tuesday in the U.S., Wednesday in Japan, and Friday in Australia and Germany. All the countries but Japan agreed to a Friday release from now on.

The change makes sense on a number of levels.

“The switch to New Music Fridays is about getting new music to fans at the time they most want to enjoy it, whether that be in physical stores or online,” said IFPI CEO Frances Moore. “The global release day also helps artists, labels and retailers by limiting the time between releases in different countries and thus narrowing the gap on piracy.”

Not to mention a majority of workers in the world get paid on Fridays and shop on the weekends.

U.S. sales of vinyl albums hit 9 million last year, almost tripling sales from five years prior, according to Nielsen. Vinyl sales continue to grow in 2015, showing a 38.4 percent increase from 2014, with 5.6 million units moved year-to-date — that means 2015 is on track to be the eighth consecutive year that sees vinyl sales grow.

And younger music fans are leading the charge, as a generation of fans weaned on MP3s discovers the richness of sound produced by the grooves of a record. Need evidence? Taylor Swift’s “1989” album is the No. 1 selling vinyl record so far this year. Other top selling artists include Arctic Monkeys, Sufjan Stevens, Alabama Shakes and Hozier.

Another contributing factor is that most vinyl records sold today also come with a free digital download for consumers whose phones and tablets are still their primary audio devices.

Anecdotal evidence suggests turntable listening is becoming event listening at parties and gatherings. And a recent walk through a local Urban Outfitters mall store revealed a whole section of vinyl records for sale alongside an assortment of retro-style Crosley portable turntables.

While vinyl sales are but a blip in the record industry’s total sales, any sign of growth in music sales, regardless of format, is a rarity these days and the music industry will embrace any opportunity it has.

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