How to spot the original albums that could be worth a fortune
The tables are turning for records with sales of vinyl overtaking digital downloads for the first time since the latter was launched.
Vinyl sales for the first week of this month hit a new high at £2.5 million compared with the £2.1 million for digital, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry.
This time last year vinyl sales were £1.2 million while digital was £4.4 million.
Vinyl is no longer seen as an indulgence for a small clique of music fans.
It is being embraced by a new generation of younger listeners who prefer to spin a disc on a record player than plug into downloads.
Record sales are getting a boost this Christmas too as vinyl is seen as an attractive gift.
This increased interest is also fuelled by artists such as Justin Bieber, the Rolling Stones and The Last Shadow Puppets releasing new albums on vinyl.
The growing demand for records has also provided a lift for the collectable market, with discs that once sold for a few pence in charity shops and car boot sales changing hands for several pounds – while the most rare examples sell for thousands.
Katie Wheeler, of record shop David’s Music in Letchworth, Hertfordshire, says: ‘There is no substitute to playing music on vinyl. Not only is the quality better than from a digital player but you are able to enjoy a more rewarding experience.
‘Everything from thumbing through your prized collection then pulling a record from a beautifully illustrated sleeve to the crackle as the needle passes over a memorable bump or scratch in the record groove – it is all part of listening pleasure.’
Wheeler believes it is this rediscovery of the attraction vinyl brings to listening to music that has been behind a surge in demand.
Collectors can pick up classic second-hand records for less than the cost of a CD or download. Once caught by the vinyl bug, they might then seek out more valuable records as solid investments.
Wheeler adds: ‘A great place to start at this time of year is with Christmas records. Whether you want to hear Elvis sing carols such as Oh Little Town Of Bethlehem, John Lennon with Happy Xmas (War Is Over) or Wham! blasting out Last Christmas, you can hear them on old records from less than £10.’