Gimmicks work. Just ask Jack White. The former White Stripe thrives off the novelty of the archaic, swinging his guitar like it’s going out of style (alas, it is). And here comes the news that his second solo album, Lazaretto (Third Man/Columbia), has become the best-selling vinyl release since Pearl Jam’s Vitalogy… which debuted way back in 1994.
It’s not a revelation that LPs have made a comeback (their sales have been ascending since 2007, according to Nielsen SoundScan) or that White’s clever marketing contributed to Lazaretto’s 62,000 vinyl copies flying off the shelves. (It produces a 3-D hologram, for goodness’ sake.) What is remarkable is the rocketing success rate of record sales.
Studies show that mid-year vinyl purchases in 2014 are up about 28 percent from this point last year (4 million versus 2.9 million). Prior to that, LP sales grew by 30.4 percent between 2012 and 2013. And that doesn’t even factor in used copies of Rumours one might find in a tattered thrift store.
There is the technical, audiophile argument for why LPs are en vogue, but we’re keen on one kid’s comment in a New York Times article as to why he chooses vinyl:
“‘CDs? My dad listens to CDs — why would I do that?’”
RPM might as well stand for rebellions per minute.