Vinyl sales contributed £86.5 million to the UK’s recorded music revenue in 2020, a new report from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) has revealed.
4.8 million vinyl records were sold in the UK in 2020, a 10% increase from the previous year, and the highest number in 30 years. Meanwhile, the number of CD sales in the UK fell by almost a third to 16 million in 2020.
UK record labels are now expecting to earn more from vinyl than CDs for the first time since 1987, with income generated from LP sales rising a whopping 30.5% in the past 12 months. Revenue generated from CDs fell 18.5% to £115 million that same time frame.
It follows a trend that has been seen developing in the UK and North America in the past few years, bolstered by the steady increase in demand for vinyl. In the first half of 2020, vinyl outsold CDs in the US for the first time in over 30 years. In total, the Recording Industry Association of America reported $232 million in sales of vinyl between January and June of 2020, compared with just $144 million CD sales.
It shows a dramatic shift in the UK’s consumption of music in a physical format over the past decade. In 2010, CDs contributed £563m to the UK’s recorded music revenue, while vinyl generated just £3.5m.
While the vinyl revival has been consistent in the past few years, the BPI states that the coronavirus lockdown encouraged its increase in 2020, with more people looking for ways to enjoy music at home due to the lack of gigs and festivals. Unsurprisingly, the increase in vinyl sales was also boosted by online campaigns from both major and independent record stores and digital marketplaces.
Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive BPI, BRIT Awards & Mercury Prize, said: “Vinyl’s exceptional performance despite retail lockdowns confirms its role as a long-term complement to music streaming. 2021 is likely to be the year in which revenues from LPs overtake those from CDs for the first time in well over three decades – since 1987. In addition to the immediacy and convenience of streaming, fans want to get closer to the artists they love by owning a tangible creation, and more and more of them are discovering how vinyl, or lovingly created CD box-sets, can enhance their experience of music.”
The UK’s recorded music revenue in 2020 rose for the fifth year in a row to £1.118 billion, an increase in 3.8% from the previous year, and the highest total since 2006. This is largely down to income generated through streaming, which rose by 15.4% to £736.5 million in 2020.
Taylor continued: “The lockdowns inevitably affected financial results in 2020 but, unlike other parts of our industry which were hit very hard, the seamless connectivity of streaming and the enduring love of vinyl meant that recorded music was relatively insulated from its worst effects, and was still able to post growth.”
Cassette sales also increased, nearly doubling in 2020 to 150,000, the highest figure since 2003. Tape sales created £8.2 million in revenues, up 4.4% on the previous year.
“F*ck off, we’re tired of it,” famed Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke once famously yelled at fans that had been clamoring to hear “Creep” while performing in Montreal during a tour stop for their third album OK Computer. Released in 1992 and featured on their debut album Pablo Honey, “Creep” became inarguably the band’s biggest radio hit. Fans of Radiohead know that despite the popularity of the song, the band typically loathes to play it because they so hate to have their entire catalog of incredible music defined by one song.
Enter Jun Takahashi’s UNDERCOVER 2020/2021 autumn/winter collection “Creep Very” which became the scene for Thom Yorke’s brooding nine-minute remix of Radiohead’s famed opus. The surprising remix is an entirely different take on the Pablo Honey single. Yorke plays an acoustic guitar throughout, giving the song a more mellow feel than the anthemic electric guitar-laden sound of the original. This naturally allows Yorke’s distinct voice to shine as he sings slow, and sometimes intentionally off-beat, to set a chilling tone to what is already an obviously depressing song lyrically. The remix maintains the haunting crescendo of the original but fans will appreciate the divergent twist Yorke poses in this rendition.
Listen and enjoy the full nine-minute remix below.
NERO recently broke a two-year silence with the surprise delivery of the veteran UK group’s take on Daft Punk‘s “Emotion” by way of new streamer on the block, Audius. Now, before the tribute to the recently disbanded robots has had any time to cool, NERO is following up with a second remix in as many days, this time offering their spin on Tame Impala‘s “Disciples.”
The original cut was the standout third single from Tame Impala’s beloved 2015 LP Currents, and while NERO has been playing out a similar remix in public outings since 2016, the legendary production outfit updated the fan-favorite remix with some 2021 modifications before uploading it for fans to enjoy.
What’s more—the remix appears to be one in a series of five new remixes from NERO on the way. With “Emotion” and “Disciples” reworks now out in the light of day, social media posts from the group indicate that three more remixes are on the way. Furthermore, the posts are also tagged with #WelcomeRealityX, seemingly alluding to the fact that we are approaching the 10-year anniversary of NERO’s groundbreaking debut album later this summer, and even more previously unheard material from the venerated UK producers is likely underway.
To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the company’s popular Bob Moog Tribute Library for Omnisphere, Spectrasonics today released a major update with a second edition of the library.
The original tribute library debuted in 2011 to benefit The Bob Moog Foundation and the Foundation’s innovative projects like their “Dr. Bob’s SoundSchool” student outreach program, the ‘Moogseum’ in Asheville, NC, and their efforts to preserve and share Dr. Moog’s extensive and historic archives. .
In addition to all the original sounds in the original Moog Tribute Library, the 2.0 edition comes with over 500 brand new patches created by Spectrasonics’ founder Eric Persing and the company’s renowned Sound Development team, and features over 1300 stunning sounds for Omnisphere – created by more than 50 of the world’s top synth artists, remixers and sound designers, including:
Vince Clarke (Erasure/Depeche Mode)
Jean Michel Jarre
The Crystal Method
Money Mark (Beastie Boys/Beck)
Bernie Worrell (P-Funk/Talking Heads)
Larry Fast (Peter Gabriel/Synergy)
Roger Joseph Manning Jr. (Air/Fiona Apple)
Ryuichi Sakamoto (YMO)
Morgan Page (Madonna/Katy Perry)
Keith Shocklee (Bomb Squad/Public Enemy)
Steve Porcaro (Toto)
Fredwreck (Snoop Dogg/50 Cent)
Jan Hammer (Jeff Beck/Mahavishnu Orchestra)
Michael Boddicker (Michael Jackson)
Richard Devine (Schematic/Warp)
Patrick Moraz (Yes/Moody Blues)
Eddie Jobson (UK/Roxy Music)
The Moog Cookbook
…and many more!
An exhaustive list of Bob Moog Tribute Library samples and sound sources is here, and you can listen to dozens of audio samples here.
Pricing and Availability. The 2.0 version of the Bob Moog Tribute Library is available now for Omnisphere users (v2.6 or higher), at the Spectrasonics webstore for $99. The update is free for all previous owners of the library.
With community radio and online features, the metaverse in China continues to be a conduit for community – and could serve as an example to people in the rest of the world in the post-pandemic world.
It’s clear that COVID-19 is not “ending” any time soon, for anyone. But for both the vaccinated and unvaccinated, that raises continuing questions for how to keep connections strong. And music and art are often about those connections and gatherings. So vaccinations reach some before others, clubs are the last to open domestically, international travel is generally what happens last. And – as we’re acutely aware in Europe right now – outbreaks continue.
What these streaming examples prove is that we don’t need to think about an either/or choice between coming together in person and staying connected online. We can enable serendipitous connections through music that defy our conditions. And that’s something we should take with us forward, rather than rushing to go “back to normal.”
It’s funny to look back at what I wrote in early February 2020:
And it’s also worth revisiting Josh Feola’s article for RADII, a site that has been active in covering the Chinese scene. Here’s their take, also from February 2020:
I realize my reference to “quarantined China” didn’t age well, but recall that the international strategy at the time was containment (in that country and elsewhere). In hindsight, it also reveals how unprepared the rest of the world was for slowing infection. (It was early enough that my description of the virus as “2019-nCoV” was still up to date, before those letters were rearranged.)
But it’s also apparent how important streaming was at the time for the musicians I highlighted. Some of the more experimental streams I mentioned also revealed something that I think a lot of us have experienced over the past year – that it isn’t the size of streaming audiences that count, but the connection.
And it’s also clear that artists in that sphere in China were quickly aware of the importance of streaming – perhaps a lot faster than music venues and artists in Europe or the USA, for instance. You can still watch streams from southeast Asia generally and be wowed by wild futuristic features and hyperactive interfaces. But slowly, we’ve seen some of those features evolve in other locales, too – by necessity, just to avoid boredom.
It’s also even more apparent in 2021 some of the divides in the planetary metaverse – by language and other barriers. There are plenty of streaming services in China that remain unknown here. And conversely, access to US-run site Bandcamp was blocked last month in China. (Chinese labels still sell on Bandcamp, but needing a VPN does limit audience.)
But “firewall” issues aside, there’s still clearly a lot to be done in communication between scenes, especially when electronic music visibility remains so stalwartly centered in certain capital cities. (Hey, it’s generally why we wind up moving to them, but still.)
So, what has been going on? That’s relevant especially now, since China has managed to reopen nightlife even as Europe (ahem) continues to struggle.
There’s Shanghai Community Radio, for one – which has been growing by bounds and just recently started their own site. A documentary from last summer on their activities:
And for folks outside Asia, they’ve got a Patreon:
They’ve been busy, busy lately including doing the entire Out of Touch festival – so proof that even with venues opening again, international connections can continue in hybrid form online.
And just a couple of highlights of all the experimental / underground / rock / electronic business going on there:
Temple Rat is new to me even though they’ve evidently played in Berlin – but check out their richly futuristic take on ancient inspirations:
I always enjoy 肖翔/XiaoXiang, the Beijing artist whose work has gone from clubs to games to films –
Oh yeah, Nairobi is in Shanghai, too, and then Kampala is teleported to Shanghai!
More on their online festival. So the significant thing here is that even with clubs open again, Shanghai chose to keep international connections going online with artists from China, Russia, Vietnam, Iran, Kenya, and so on. I notice that is a different take than what I’m hearing from conventional industry bookers and promoters in Europe and the US, who seem to prefer to focus on the business and go “back to normal” by staying local.
And don’t miss their awesome new website, which is ready for an international audience:
But part of the reason you don’t see big stats on US-run social media sites is, people are using sites that are fully localized and – well covered in wild cartoons and things. So for the ‘local online’ experience, check bililbili’s version of SHCR:
Chengdu Community Radio has been going strong, too, for another example. They, too, are bigger on bilibili – their cdcr.live link even points there – so let’s drive up their YouTube numbers a bit, shall we, just to introduce some other folks to great music? (They were on BBC which evidently didn’t help, so – CDM bump instead?)
They did a 36-hour livestream marathon of live performances and DJ sets in February, together with Wigwam and Bianli Music.
Our friend WISE did a great panel in September looking at Chengdu’s club culture. That features:
Ellen Zhang (Club Owner, .TAG / Hakka Bar / Yitong, Chengdu) Heling (DJ, Producer / 便利音乐 / Steam Hostel, Chengdu) Tobias Patrick (DJ, Shanghai)
Moderator: Sebastian Dern, Deputy Consul General, Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Chengdu
And check these killer live sets with talks – Cvalda doing superb, broken live stuff and talk:
Geezer, too, has a great Elektron-powered jam and talks about the evolution of the scene (subtitled in English):
In Shanghai, flashback to an early set at the legendary ALL club, back when the city was still under strict lockdown, for this killer XDD set (the “ALL by yourself” is of course a reference to stay-at-home music of the pandemic):
I still adore Zhu Wenbo’s set with looping tapes and toy turntables from a year ago – so maybe if we paste it again, they’ll upload something new. (Obviously, YouTube just doesn’t have the same importance there as in some places, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing – but I would love to be able to catch more music!)
A footnote – to shift off the mainland, Hong Kong Community Radio clearly has inspired community streaming efforts not only throughout southeast Asia but worldwide, as a kind of high-water reference of international collaboration and independent platforms. So I do definitely see some of that impact on efforts across the Pacific hemisphere – and I know I’ve been inspired by their music selection from all over the planet. But they’re almost a topic for another day, and I’m certain people are less aware of what’s happening in Chengdu – well, so far, anyway.
Wuhan could also be a topic for another day, as the city that tragically has come to be identified with this virus also has a thriving electronic scene that’s worth a visit. And you all deserve to be known for your music, not just the history we’ve all been caught up in.
(PS – please don’t think I want to privilege China over the rest of southeast Asia’s terrific scene – it’s just one place to begin; there’s more to say looking around the Pacific, too. And it’s amazing that there is a lot of collaboration across that enormous region, even with literal seas and oceans between people. Mainly I want to say – I miss you, friends on other sides of the world, and I’m inspired by you, strangers making music who pick me up when this time of life feels a bit dark.)
Starrah‘s debut album, The Longest Interlude, makes a splash on streaming platforms with 13 tracks spanning guest appearances from the likes of Skrillex, Nile Rodgers, James Blake, and many more. The Grammy-winning producer and songwriter said of her inaugural long-form,
“I put everything into this album because it’s my diary, the raw soundtrack to my life. The Longest Interlude describes a love story from the highs in the beginning to the lows and hardships that most can relate to, so I am super excited to share this with you all. This is a moment in time and a period of transition and possibilities.”
The Delaware-born rapper has been responsible for well-renowned hits such as Rihanna‘s “Needed Me,” Travis Scott‘s “Pick Up The Phone,” and Camilla Cabello and Young Thug‘s “Havana,” to name just a few. In 2017, she released a collaborative EP with Diplo titled Starrah X Diplo and has previously worked with Destructo and Cashmere Cat. The Longest Interlude is an emotional rollercoaster of R&B, hip-hop, and pop influences and even features a long-awaited Skrillex collaboration titled “Twenty4.”
Home to the likes of Nicolas Jaar and Soul Clap, Wolf + Lamb Records has enlisted New York-based singer and composer, Sylvan Paul for the label’s latest, America. Paul’s debut EP, America consists of three tracks that reflect the United States’ current political climate. The newest signee employs a tongue-in-cheek approach to the unsmiling titles on his tracklist: “America,” “War,” and “Violence.”
Occupying a space between dusty nostalgia and futurist longing, Paul aims to revive the appeal of politics in music. Featuring a mix of gritty percussion, distorted guitars, dissonant mono-synths, and Paul’s sparse yet impenetrable vocals, America will beg to be heard and appreciated on the live stage.
In 2020, Swole Sauce struck a match with his independent debut, “Colors.” With each successive single, the Queens-born experimentalist has thrown gasoline on the fire, and as “I Can Feel” further fans the flames, you can rest assured that Swole Sauce is still only just heating up.
After closing out the past year with a bass house-influenced spin on Kiani Alexandra’s “All Talk,” the New York native threw open the doors to another 365-day stretch of new music with his take on Martyska and Iva Rii’s “Alive.” After two consecutive remixes, it’s high time for another Swole Sauce original, and that’s precisely what his following is getting.
True to the early tradition that Swole Sauce instilled with “Colors,” listeners’ jaws will expectedly be on the floor by the time that the final second in “I Can Feel’s” runtime ticks down. The Trap N Chill-disseminated number euphorically intertwines elements of future bass and trap in a nearly three-minute rush that evokes RL Grime as it simultaneously puts Swole Sauce’s own sensibilities on full display. The arresting new showing arrives via Trap N Chill on March 25, but can be streamed in full below one day early, only on Dancing Astronaut.
Tomorrowland has announced details of its second winter festival, scheduled to take place in March 2022.
After being forced to cancel its 2020 and 2021 editions to the coronavirus pandemic, Tomorrowland is now setting its site on the week of 19th – 26th March 2022 for its return to the French ski resort of Alpe d’Huez.
The news comes after the announcement yesterday (23rd March) that Tomorrowland would be hosting a live stream this week in place of its cancelled 2021 winter edition. Taking place this Thursday, 25th March, the live stream will come live from Alpe d’Huez and will feature an all-French line-up: Martin Solveig and Kungs will go B2B for the first time ever, while Klingande and Ofenbach also lined up for exclusive performances. The performances will be streamed from an altitude of more than 2,000 meters, with views of the Alpe d’Huez and surrounding mountains.
While little further information is available about next year’s edition of Tomorrowland winter, pre-registration for tickets is now open here.
The line-up for Tomorrowland Winter 2019 included names such as Armin van Buuren, Afrojack, Martin Garrix, Steve Aoki and Nervo.
There’s nothing like great new music to help us “See Through” one of the toughest years the music industry has ever seen, and up-and-coming trap and future bass enthusiasts Rossy and We Rose are joining forces to deliver just that. “See Through” features Rossy, whose vocals take on a darker, more foreboding tone during the buildup. Her stunning sung contributions are accompanied by the hype-inducing sound of trap snare beats that eventually accelerate into a blissful break that harps on the sounds of melodic and future bass.
Kansas-born and California-based, Rossy is rising fast in the dance music scene as she continues her stellar release record. “See Through” falls behind the likes of her previous outputs “Euphoria,” which was featured on Sable Valley Summer Vol. 1, and a trio of 2020 releases, “pain,” “KOTA,” and “what do u want.” She was recently featured in Dancing Astronaut‘s International Women’s Day tribute, and remains an artist we’ll continue to keep an eye on for boundary-pushing music in the future.
Los Angeles-based duo We Rose—the collaborative work of Willie McClure and Evan Rosen—burst on to the scene with their 2019 remix of Alison Wonderland and Quix‘s “TIME.” “See Through” is the pair’s second release of 2021, following their collaboration with Blurrd Vzn, “Big Game.” Listen to “See Through” below.