The changing economy over the last 40 years has increased the basic cost of living. You often hear people who grew up in the 80s talking about how much things cost and ‘in my day, you could have bought…’
So we’re looking at the price of vinyl records over the years. Have they really increased in cost? Does this differ from the US to the UK?
Cost of vinyl records in 2022
First, we should be looking at how many vinyl records cost in today’s market. There are many factors to include here, so we’ll be looking at established artists releasing an LP so Taylor Swift compared with bands in the 80s such as The Rolling Stones.
The latest Taylor Swift album – Midnights came out in October 2022. This retailed in the UK market between £30.00 to £35.00.
For less established artists you’ll be able to pick up an LP for an average price of £25-35. The equivalent of that in the 1980s would be £4.50 to £5.00.
The same album in the US was retailing at $25-32. The equivalent of this in US dollars in 1980 would have been between $7.00 and $9.00.
Cost of vinyl in 1980
If we take Bruce Springsteen – The River which was released in 1980 – This would have cost between $8-10 – This would be around $28.00 to $36.00.
In the UK the same record would have cost around £5-11 – With inflation, this would have been around £25.00 – £55.00 – which is a 406% increase.
How has the price of vinyl records changed over the years?
The cost of vinyl hasn’t actually increased too much over the last 60 years. With the production techniques and materials being relatively the same. The demand aspect and technology advances and the switches to digital music and streaming services vinyls are produced in lower numbers with the value of a vinyl record being pretty similar.
Vinyl records costs vs CD and streaming services
The biggest difference is the relative cost of vinyl records vs other forms of music in the UK and US markets.
A CD is sold at £12-15 in the UK and $12-16 in the US, the cost of streaming services such as Spotify at £9.99 per month unlocking millions of albums in a single place means that the cost of vinyl and the entry to that market is actually very high.
The benefits are owning a physical piece of work and having the experience of playing that album the whole way through.