Vinyl, the key to boosting reggae music sales | Entertainment
They may be considered old-fashioned, but vinyl records have brought more revenue to reggae artists than digital sales lately. Vinyl regained popularity, having gradually lost popularity to cassette, and nearly died out with the introduction of CDs.
However, now referred to as the gold of the reggae industry by some reggae enthusiasts, vinyl appears to be key in bringing the local music industry to a state of recovery as far as sales are concerned.
Veteran coach/producer Delano, says true fans of Jamaican genres like dub, reggae and old school dancehall, aren’t quite that into digital music because Jamaican music requires heavy sounds, a characteristic which is not better transmitted digitally.
“Vinyl is very much a collectible and I miss it. The only thing I don’t miss with vinyl is the weight to carry it around. This digital download system is mostly free and it’s hard to keep up with the real sales of our music that way. When you listen to a vinyl record, you get it to sound as close to the wave format as possible and it sounds better. And for old school DJs like me, playing vinyl is more enjoyable” , did he declare.
The DJ has also encouraged Jamaican artists to make their records available in vinyl format if they want to profit from their work. He was quick to point out, however, that he was in no way implying that recording artists should abandon digital music entirely.
“We still have to go digital, but we have to find a way to get some of our music on vinyl. So make the right connections and get vinyl distribution,” he said.
Delano, who worked on hits with Sean Paul, says his previous hit projects are all available on vinyl and he’ll be following the same path with his new releases.
“People like King Jammys and Coxone Dodd have a gold mine right now. Because records from that era are what people are looking for on vinyl. My goal is to be in that position for years to come, that’s why I’m here to make the right connections,” he said.
The DJ who recently became the first Jamaican DJ to be booked for the SXSW Music Festival, said that aside from vinyl conveying reggae better than digital media, the increase in vinyl record sales may also be linked to the resurgence of sound system culture, Jamaica. dub and EDM music.
“The sound system culture is booming in Europe and some of these guys only play vinyl while others play both. People like King Jammys, Jack Ruby and Mugas Hifi – as selectors, are popular on this side of the world, but it’s mostly a playground for foreigners. The dominant genres are dub, reggae and EDM. EDM was copied from Jamaican dub music, so young people overseas are buying dub vinyl, reggae and EDM. I just hope Jamaica gets their credit because we are the real innovators of this thing,” he said.
Many contemporary Jamaican sound systems have abandoned vinyl altogether and are not the ones benefiting from the sound system resurgence that Delano speaks of. He, however, paid tribute to Stone Love and Bass Odyssey for their role in preserving a small part of the culture, while stressing that the Jamaican government should do more for its longevity.
The Sunday Gleaner, also spoke with Leslie Cooney, US-based overseas manager/representative, label, Delicious Vinyl. According to Cooney, if contemporary Jamaican artists create good music and focus partly on vinyl distribution, they will see increased sales.
“You can outsell digital downloads if you put out a good vinyl. If you have a popular record and you don’t go the vinyl route, you’re missing out on a strong population of people,” she said.
According to 2015 statistics from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), there was a 32.5% decline in CD sales revenue in 2015, while vinyl revenue increased 52.1% during of the last year. The RIAA also noted that vinyl sales earned $226 million in the first half of 2015. The streaming release Spotify earned a total of $162.7 million in the first half of 2015.
The RIAA also noted that vinyl sales generate more money for the music industry than YouTube, ad-based Spotify and VEVO combined.