Vinyl image for Muso website

The Billion Dollar Needle Drop

Deep into the streaming era, vinyl outsold CD sales last year for the first time since 1987 and grew for the 16th straight year. We unpack the state of vinyl with John T. Kunz, owner of Austin’s Waterloo Records; Russ Crupnick, Managing Partner of MusicWatch; John Pette, co-owner of new vinyl pressing plant OUTTA WAX; Gina Williams, Senior Director of Independent Retail and Vinyl Marketing at Warner Music Group; and Larry Jaffee, author of Record Store Day: The Most Improbable Comeback of the 21st Century.



In this episode: 

00:00 Introduction 

Ten years ago, the ratio of CD sales to LP sales at Waterloo Records was
80% to 90% in favor of CDs, and now it’s completely reversed. We last left the vinyl discussion on Musonomics in 2016 in our episode the Vinyl Resurrection. Back then, vinyl sales were up to $400 million. Fast forward to 2022 and revenues from vinyl records grew 17% over the previous year to $1.2 billion, the 16th consecutive year of growth. In terms of units, vinyl albums outsold CDs for the first time since 1987. 

02:45 Vinyl in Retailwith John T. Kunz 

A veteran of the music industry, John T. Kunz is the owner of Austin’s Waterloo Records, a purveyor of culture since 1982. In this segment we discuss what today’s buyers find so compelling about vinyl, who exactly is purchasing vinyl records, and how vinyl plays an important role in bridging the generation gap. 

06:46 Consumer Demographics & Vinyl Market Evolutionwith Russ Crupnick 

Russ Crupnick is a Managing Partner of MusicWatch and an expert in consumer behavior and market research with a focus on media and entertainment, and a professor of graduate Strategic Marketing course at NYU Steinhardt Music Business program. Miller and Crupnick discuss the reasons behind the growth of vinyl, the consumer demographics and market segmentation, how vinyl marketing has changed, and the reasons behind purchasing – are people buying records to listen, to display, or purely as collectibles? 

20:57 The Vinyl Pressing Business – with John Pette 

John Pette is a data scientist at the New York University and the co-owner of OUTTA WAX, a new vinyl pressing company in Minneapolis. This segment explores the vinyl pressing business, the issues in the supply chain, and the logistics of a vinyl pressing plant. 

28:36 Is There Enough Gas Left in the Tank? – with Larry Jaffee & Gina Williams 

Larry Jaffe is the author of Record Store Day: The Most Improbable Comeback of the 21st Century, a great read about the inside story on how Record Store Day managed to help revive the vinyl format from oblivion over the past 15 years. Gina Williams is a three-decade veteran in the music business and the Senior Director of Independent Retail and Vinyl Marketing at Warner Music. In the final segment of the episode, Miller, Jaffee, & Williams discuss the culture of vinyl listening, the art of packaging, what Spotify is doing right, and what the future holds. 

38:45 Closing Remarks & Credits 


If you would like to hear more expert insight about the music business, follow us on Spotify and Apple Podcasts 


Download our latest report on streaming economics here. 


Additional reading: 

Year End 2022 RIAA Revenue Statistics 

Luminate 2022 Year End Music Report 

Waterloo Records Turns 40 – Austin Monthly The Vinyl Shortage – Explained 

Metallica Acquires Furnace 

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