Weren’t we done with “records” “cassingles” and the like a couple decades ago? Didn’t new and supposedly better tech push those and many other “no longer useful” items into a huge pile to decay on the scrap heap of history?
Not so fast.
The Recording Industry of America reports that vinyl record sales, which first overtook CD sales in 2020, have been increasing for a decade now. And they’re up substantially over the two year pandemic period, by as much as an additional 200%.
But it’s not just vinyl records making a comeback. Another once nearly extinct item, the cassette tape, has also increased year-after-year in sales that now total in the six figures over this past twelve month period.
As more and more listeners choose vinyl and cassettes, the case for songwriters to make a portion of their work available in these old school formats is building, and some singer-songwriters already have.
For example, the Los Angeles based duo, The Swansons, have recorded three full albums here at Nashville Trax, are midway through a fourth, and just re-released their popular second album done here, titled Bam!, on vinyl…. red vinyl, no less.
Yes, far more people have cell phones to play an mp3 than have record players or cassette tape players at this point in history, but even if your vinyl record sales don’t track quite strong enough to turn a profit, there’s a certain coolness factor to having product in a retro format that can make releasing on cassette, on vinyl, or both, a good business decision regardless. It’s also uncommon enough, with many people, including members of the press, not realizing the comeback is on, that it can help your act obtain articles and interviews.
Since we are discussing old things becoming new again, there’s this kinda sorta related fact:
Did you know that all growth in the music business is coming from decades old songs? Yes, really. Newly written and produced material is actually experiencing a decrease, proof and details here:
But what what does this interesting, little known fact, mean for songwriting, if anything? Your songwriting?
Not much. Make no mistake, the trend line may not be in their favor, but the numbers that “new music decline” are based on were huge so even with a decline, new Christian, country and pop artists are still enjoying plenty of radio airplay and are still building lucrative careers. There is plenty of opportunity to write and market your songs in those genres.
If you’re an independent songwriter/performer you don’t want to sound dated of course, that’s often the kiss of death for someone plugging their latest tune. But food for thought: if you can incorporate the best aspects of the material that was popular in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s into your writing- the super catchy hooks, the cool arrangements, while having your demos produced with a modern spin, you may tie into something of a hybrid nature that can grab airplay and sell in big numbers to both the diminishing demographic that loves the new songs, and also appeals to the older demographic that is tiring of listening to Heart’s These Dreams” on their local oldies station for the 3,000th time.
That influence can be subtle, it can be overt, such as the Kidd Rock riffing on Sweet Home Alabama in “All Summer Long”, or downright blatant the way De Jay Silver recorded a rap tune that sampled bits of the Alabama country hit “Dixieland Delight”.
The first step to releasing your songs on mp3, CD, Vinyl or cassette is to have a professional recording produced. Nashville Trax can guide you through the entire production process. Interested? Drop us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org