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Digital media distribution may be a killer trend for the music business, but even in this era of MP3s, vinyl albums -- and turntables! -- are making a comeback.
According to The New York Times, as of late November, vinyl record sales had increased 35% year over year. This surge isn't restricted to obscure record shops catering to discriminating hipsters. Ultra-mainstream Best Buy (NYSE: BBY ) is selling vinyl albums and turntables, too. (Granted, some of the latter devices are just docks for iPods.)
Services like Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL ) iTunes need not fret. The vinyl records sold in 2009 represent a tiny 1% of all album sales -- and CD sales still stink.
Music heavyweights Apple, Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN ) , Warner Music (NYSE: WMG ) , and Sirius XM (Nasdaq: SIRI ) have either played a part in music industry disruption, or been affected by it. A nascent vinyl comeback won't require them to rethink their digital strategies. But it's nonetheless interesting that some young people are attracted to vinyl by elements many of us fondly remember as old-school cool, like liner notes and album art. Apple, among others, is trying to recreate these extras in digital form via its iTunes LP format.
What do you think of this retro turn? Give us a shout (or just reminisce -- I know I'm proud of my old vinyl collection) in the comment boxes below.