Sainsbury's re-introducing vinyl 'validates the relevance' of the format


You can now buy vinyl when doing your weekly shop at Sainsbury's.

The supermarket is stocking records for the first time since the 1980s, following a similar move by Tesco.

And the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), which represents the UK's recorded music industry, says it suggests the format "will be around for a long time to come".

In 2015 sales of vinyl went over the two million mark for the first time in 21 years.

People buying vinyl

Speaking to Newsbeat, the BPI's Gennaro Castaldo says: "For supermarkets to get involved suggests they feel there's a major commercial opportunity in vinyl."

But he does recognise that Sainsbury's re-introducing the LP to its shelves could have a negative impact on smaller businesses.

"Independent record stores are doing so fantastically well and they've really driven the growth of interest in vinyl over recent years," he explains.

"What we mustn't do is undermine the cache of vinyl the more mainstream it becomes.

"But I think if we get the balance right it could be a very positive thing".


Analysis by Newsbeat reporter, Jimmy Blake

"It's no surprise major supermarkets want to cash in on the rise in vinyl sales and this only reflects how healthy that area of the market has become.

In fact, given vinyl's year-on-year sales figures, it seems odd it hasn't happened on this scale sooner.

There's also no shock in seeing big sellers like Adele and Foo Fighters on the list of albums it's stocking as they're a safe bet for sales.

The same goes for classic albums like Fleetwood Mac's Rumours.

While it's encouraging for the music industry that another big retailer has started putting vinyl back on its shelves, it could also have a negative impact for up-and-coming artists.

There are a limited number of vinyl pressing plants which are struggling to meet demand and although the popularity of Record Store Day is a big boost to the industry, it's becoming more difficult to satisfy the sheer volume of records stores which is growing every year.

Extra orders from supermarkets could delay smaller or independent labels. With less disposable income they can't afford to buy records by smaller labels in bulk and have to wait their turn to have albums or EPs pressed - this can delay releases by weeks or even months.

Greatest hits and compilations may have proved popular in CD sales but in the long-run mass production of established names could go on to hinder releases of newer acts."

man hand with records

LP's are made at pressing plants but most of those here won't necessarily see the benefit of vinyl being stacked on supermarket shelves.

That's because major labels will already have existing deals with plants outside of the UK so won't be making new orders in Britain.

But Ed Jones from AGR Manufacturing believes Sainsbury's "re-promoting the format", as he puts it, could produce more orders and help the industry grow.

Stephen Godfroy, co-owner of record store Rough Trade East, hopes this will help the record industry.

"I think it's a positive step for the industry and it further validates on a mainstream level the relevance of vinyl as a format," he believes

"By further validating the demand hopefully further pressing plants will open which will hopefully mean the price of vinyl will start to drop."

shoppers in Rough Trade

The introduction of vinyl in Sainsbury's is the latest in a series of changes for the format.

In recent years Record Store Day has had a huge boost in popularity.

Over 250 labels will release limited edition for the ninth celebration of the format on 16 April.

The first ever vinyl chart was launched by the Official Charts Company last year, proving that despite streaming, people still buy physical copies of their favourite music.

Figures were released in December suggesting two thirds of music fans who use streaming to find new music then go out and buy it in physical form.

Raquel Brau Diaz

Raquel is a student from New York who prefers to browse in vinyl shops but likes the idea more people buying records.

"I think finding vinyl in a supermarket is pretty odd.

"I like looking at the cover art, I've found some funny stuff and like to see which artists surprise me and which ones I like, I also like to have a listen.

"Having a look through records is something I don't associate with grocery shopping at all, but if it's there I suppose it could be a pleasant surprise for people."

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