Illustrative photo – Production of vinyl records at GZ Media, September 21, 2022, Loděnice, Berounsko. The picture shows the production and control of the negative matrix by Direct Metal Mastering technology.
Prague – Interest in musical vinyl records, the production of which was significantly reduced at the beginning of the 90s of the last century, has been growing in the Czech Republic and around the world in the last ten years. According to data from the Czech National Group of the International Federation of the Music Industry, the share of sales of physical carriers on the domestic music market is approximately the same for CDs and vinyl records. Vinyl records saw a year-on-year increase of 15 percent last year, showing their continued popularity. Last year, sales of vinyl records in the United States surpassed CDs for the first time since 1987. This follows from the findings of ČTK.
The first long-playing gramophone record (LP) was presented seventy years ago by the American recording company Columbia on June 21, 1948.
“Vinyl has been making a successful comeback for many years. And we, the veterans, who thirty years ago escorted it to the junkyard at sales history, it's gratifying,” said Radek Diestler, curator of exhibitions at Prague's Popmuseum, where an exhibition called V as Vinyl took place this spring.
Exposition subtitled wins & conquests of the vinyl age dealt with the phenomenon of vinyl records. The opening was connected with the preview of the TV documentary Vinyl. “Figuratively speaking, the gramophone record experienced something like when the mythical bird Phoenix rose from the ashes. Records thus became a modern product with an absolutely exceptional destiny,” said Zdeněk Pelc, the main owner of the company GZ Media, which manufactures gramophone records, in the documentary.
Last year, GZ Media expected turnover for the entire group to grow to seven billion crowns from nearly five billion the year before. It planned to increase the production of vinyl to 75 to 80 million units, having produced 51 million the year before.
While at the beginning of the 90s, with the advent of CDs, vinyl records often ended up in garbage cans, today they are also becoming a collector's investment. For example, in 2013, the Dog Soldiers Leitmotiv record cost 480 crowns on the Internet, five years later its price was approximately 2,200 crowns. The prices of new vinyl records by Czech performers range between 400 and 600 crowns.
The Internet magazine Svět Vinylů cites a more authentic sound as well as a kind of ceremony, which includes carefully removing the LP from its packaging and carefully placing it on the playback plate, among the reasons for the increased interest in vinyl. Contemporary domestic musicians are also interested in releasing their music on vinyl. For example, the album On/Off by the singer Barbora Poláková was released at the end of May this year through digital distribution, and will soon be supplemented by physical media, namely vinyls, CDs and audio cassettes. “I consider listening to a vinyl record to be concentrated time spent with a musician, when I can connect with him and let his music affect me,” Poláková told ČTK.
Vladimír Mišík's last studio recording, Noční obraz, was also released as a vinyl double album two years ago by Animal Music. Petr Ostrouchov, who participated in the album as a composer and producer, told ČTK that it is worth releasing vinyl records because it is a better version of the music than streaming services offer. “For me, vinyl is associated with great nostalgia. Even for the simple reason that the records had beautiful covers and were beautiful from an artistic point of view. Basically, some of them were paintings that you could make a wall of and look at them, ” said Mišík.
As the popularity of vinyl records increases, so does the number of gramophones sold. The company SEV Litovel, which is the world's leading producer of hi-fi quality record players, doubled its sales to 668 million crowns from 323 million crowns in 2020 thanks to record production the year before last year. The company sold a record 177,600 record players in 2021, while in 2020 there were 97,000.
“The level of interest in gramophones has been stable for a long time, then increases regularly from November and lasts until the end of February. We recorded a more significant demand during the pandemic, when people were at home,” Lucie Dlouhá from the company told ČTK Heureka.cz, the largest shopping advisor and price comparator on the Czech internet. “The offer on the market is very diverse, people buy equally cheap to expensive products. The price changed at the beginning of 2021, when we recorded the highest interest in gramophones, after that there were no significant changes,” she added.