Entertainment & Arts

Vinyl collectors spent millions on Discogs last year

Limited edition vinyl Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The market in collectible vinyl is huge, but largely ignored in the music industry's official statistics

Record collectors spent more than $200m (£147m) at the online music marketplace Discogs last year, the BBC can reveal.

The site, which helps collectors find and trade rare music, sold more than 10m records - up from 8.3m in 2016.

Vinyl was the most popular format, with 7.9m sales - including a rare Beatles record that fetched $10,502 (£7,700).

The 7-inch single was one of only 250 issued with Sir Paul McCartney's name spelled incorrectly on the label as "Paul McArtney".

Most expensive items on Discogs (Jan - Mar 2018)
Artist / Title Format Price
1) The Beatles - Love Me Do Promotional 7-inch single $10,502 (£7,700)
2) Pet Shop Boys - Yes 11-disc box set $7,337 (£5,378)
3) Gorilla Biscuits - Gorilla Biscuits Yellow vinyl $6,144 (£4,503)
4) Prince - Black Album Limited edition test pressing $5,130 (£3,760)
5) Pink Floyd - Meddle Blue transparent vinyl $4,400 (£3,225)

Discogs' success reflects a revival in the music industry's fortunes as well as the continuing consumer interest in vinyl.

However, its figures are largely hidden from official music industry statistics, because they derive from private sellers trading second-hand records.

Obscure releases

Launched in 2000, the site was the brainchild of then-Intel programmer Kevin Lewandowski, who wanted to catalogue his collection of electronic albums.

It slowly transformed into a sort of Wikipedia for music obsessives - featuring crowd-sourced information on more than 9.8 million recordings, from major chart hits to hard-to-find obscurities.

But the platform really took off in 2007, when it added a marketplace feature that allowed users to buy and sell vinyl.

And with a business model similar to eBay or Amazon, where the site takes 8% of sales, Discogs would have generated something like $16 million (£11.7 million) in revenues last year.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Tracy Chapman's debut album continues to be a big-seller on the site

The site's best-sellers list also provide a unique, outsiders' perspective on the music market.

The most popular record so far this year, for example, is a compilation album from the mysterious, short-lived 90s electro label Scopex.

More recognisable names like Tracy Chapman, Madonna, Daft Punk and Prince also feature in the Top 20.

Kendrick Lamar's Damn was the most-collected current release in the first three months of 2018, while Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon topped the catalogue charts.

And while vinyl is the most popular format amongst Discogs' users, the site also saw a 29% increase in the number of cassette sold last year - with 162,811 tapes changing hands.

Best-sellers on Discogs (Jan - Mar 2018)
Artist / Title Format Year of Release
1) Various Artists - Scopex 98/00 4-LP box set 2017
2) Yasuaki Shimizu - Kakashi Vinyl reissue 2017
3) Ryan Adams - Live At Rough Trade Vinyl album 2017
4) Solid Space - Solid Space Double album, bonus tracks 2017
5) Gorillaz - Demon Days Red translucent vinyl 2017
6) Velly Joonas - Stopp, Seisku Aeg! 7-inch single 2015
7) Andrés - New For U 12-inch single 2012
8) Prince And The Revolution - Purple Rain Vinyl album 1984
9) Daft Punk - Random Access Memories 180 gram double vinyl 2013
10) Stardust - Music Sounds Better With You 12-inch single 1998
11) Tracy Chapman - Tracy Chapman Vinyl album 1988
12) Shame - Songs of Praise Limited edition blue vinyl 2018
13) The Breeders - All Nerve Limited edition orange vinyl 2018
14) Khruangbin ‎- The Universe Smiles Upon You 180 gram vinyl 2016
15) Dream 2 Science ‎- Dream 2 Science 12-inch single 2012
16) Leafar Legov ‎- Family 12-inch single 2017
17) Camelphat & Elderbrook - Cola 12-inch single 2017
18) Panda Bear ‎- A Day With The Homies 12-inch EP 2018
19) Greta Van Fleet - Black Smoke Rising 12-inch EP in gatefold sleeve 2017
20) Madonna - True Blue Vinyl album 1986
20) Sophie Lloyd ‎- Calling Out 7-inch single 2017

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