Are You Buying More CDs and Less Vinyl Due To The Price Increases?

Are you buying more CDs since the recent increase in vinyl prices?
Or have you cut back on all your music spending?

Update – The results are in – Music ARE returning to CDs (see comments below) 

In the UK where I am based we are in the middle of cost of living crisis where we are seeing food and energy bills going up on a regular basis.
(Looking on the news this seems to be a global issues as well)

For me personally, treating myself to a couple of albums on a Friday was a regular thing. I might have had an idea what I was looking for but many times it would be an impulse buy. I think while you could buy a couple of CDs or vinyl albums for under £30 we all felt we could easily justify this.

However with vinyl albums now costing over £30 for a single album this is not so easy. Who can really go and spend £60 / £90 for 2 – 3 albums? There is also the quality issue, how many albums are you returning due to pressing errors or damaged covers or inner sleeves?

For many music fans we now find ourselves looking at a £30 vinyl album and thinking I could buy 3 CDs for the same price. All my music contacts are saying they are seeing an increase in CDs sales but they are also seeing a slow down in demand over all.

Let me know what you think in the comments and I will add them to the website as well.

Below are some of the comments we have received on our YouTube Channels and Private Facebook Group. 

As we’ve discussed before, the production costs associated with vinyl have seen big hikes and that has probably caused many to reconsider their format of choice. CD stands to be a big beneficiary here. Indeed, those folks who’ve been concentrating on vinyl purchasing in recent years will likely be pleasantly surprised at how much better CD mastering has become in recent times. The latest Joni Mitchell Reprise box that Phil looked at recently is a case in point. Chris Wright

I prefer vinyl records to CDs, but I’ve definitely bought more CDs than vinyl in the last year. What was around €20 last year is now around €30. madness. My revolt will be that I only buy CDs, ok also vinyl, but the price should be around €20. The CD also has the advantage if you buy a used one, there is less risk of something going wrong. (Sorry for my English, not my native language) – Sarobi

I was in HMV the other day and there was a few vinyls there were £40 each.
I think it’s a real shame because I do want to buy vinyls.
In terms of CDs, they aren’t too bad of a price (especially new releases) so that’s really want I’m living with.
I cannot stream music I think that’s horrible. All the best and fantastic video – Willie

I’ve definitely bought more CDs than vinyl this year. The price of vinyl has a lot to do with it. It’s a shame. I like both formats. Occasionally I’ll buy both versions if the record means that much to me. But I find myself doing that less and less these days. I’m definitely buying less music than say a year ago. That said, what I do buy, I’m enjoying possibly more. Clive Snowden

Phil, my spending on music is pretty much unchanged. I will always opt for the CD as it now represents very good value for money and it is such a reliable format. I purchase vinyl via the second hand stores and the record fairs and always manage to find a bargain. In my local HMV, I have seen plenty of people browsing the vinyl selection but never anyone making an actual purchase. Peter Walsh

I have bought only cds now for the last 20 years. The main issue for me is that Cherry Red etc (Grapefruit, Esorteric) are releasing great boxsets on cd with copious booklets and notes for about £20. Impossible to do on vinyl (unless it a £250 boxset). Grateful Black

My main format is CD and, as I’ve got older, I’m more selective with purchases but probably spending just as much due to the quality box sets being released, although I’ve definitely been spending less over the last few months. I’ll get vinyl as well as the CD if it’s by a very favourite band just from a collecting perspective, so a vinyl purchase is only once in a while – Ian G

Vinyl was always my second choice but the price has me buying less and less vinyl.
CD is my preferred format. Lexy

Had jumped back into the record buying a few years ago . The cost and the amount of warped new records i have purchased, blows my mind. So now only pick up the occasional records. Jumped back on to cd . I do play the both formats i have. This experience has made me appreciate cd format a little more than i used to. Something i probably took for granted for a long time. Cheers phil – Jason Kelly

The cost of vinyl has increased exponentially even prior to the cost of living crisis (in my experience anyway). The reissues wherein the vinyl ‘package’ e.g. the Jethro Tull reissues with extensive booklets has given the opportunists the perfect avenue to capitalise upon the demand based on limited copies available. However the music market is made up of various buyers with different levels of disposable income. Another prime example is the new Porcupine Tree album which is available in various formats including a 3 LP 45rpm version which contains 2 extra tracks at a cost of £54 i believe. Not sure if the extra tracks are available on c.d. but this is a case of market manipulation. For those ‘extreme’ completist fans then they will buy all formats. I suspect there will probably be a decrease in sales in general but for those who are able to maintain an acceptable level of disposable income will likely continue to purchase in their preferred formats. Barrie Strong

The quality of vinyl records is becoming questionable these days as manufacturers rush to meet demand. Besides new audiophile CD players produce superb sounds. Definitely more CDs for me. And I love your Deep Purple t- shirt ! Jegaraj

Hi Phil, I’ve bought vinyl much less in recent years because in many cases the price is exorbitant and a CD I can get for £10-£12 is far better value than £30 for the equivalent vinyl, as pointed out the advances in CD have given us some astounding results, the Joni Mitchell box is a prime example, I’d be happy to pay for that kind of quality on CD, this set was in fact really cheap and encouraged me to buy again even already owning the albums, you can’t justify the vinyl prices now when a CD box with maybe 4 CD’s and a DVD cam be bought for £50 or less but the equivalent Vinyl version is maybe £180 or more, I’ve got all the Bowie box sets on CD and not paid more than £90 for any of them, I recently saw one for almost £300! Ridiculous!! Keep up the good work my friend! Pogling

Yes Phil, unless it’s something that I really want on vinyl I’ll get it on cd. They are so much cheaper especially if you get used ones. Stephen Barrow

The last four vinyl albums I bought were from ebay. I picked up four second hand Linda Ronstadt albums for a total price including postage of around £20. On the flip side of that I`ve pre-ordered a re-release of Frank Sinatra`s `Watertown` for a staggering £59.99! It`s only a single album as well. Wouldn`t normally but this is one of my favourite albums of all time so I couldn`t resist. So I guess I`m saying that if I really want it I will still get it. Best wishes Sjhue

I have wonderful memories of buying and listening to records back in the day. But when cd’s came out, they were just a better format (for me), and still are. There is no way I could afford to buy records today. Thirdman

Phil, I dropped buying vinyl years ago, after hearing the sound of a well made cd. I still play my old vinyl records from the 60’s-70’s at times, but the sound for me just doesn’t do it. Thanks for the video, and take care. Jerry

Came back to vinyl in 2015 after 20 years of buying CDs only. Apart from the vinyls I haven’t given away and carried with me since my teenage years I re-started collecting vinyl quite heavily and built a collection of nearly 6K over a period of seven years. So it‘s relatively easy for me just to reduce the no. of purchases a bit without even getting back to CD again as I own almost every record I consider a must and may not be able to hear all the shit already in stock during my remaining time on this nutgone planet anyway. It‘s the music junkie in all of us always screaming for more. We may have to give this little devil a break. Hard task, indeed. Firerbird

Definitely switching back to more CDs. Any vinyl I get now is restricted to ones I really want. Can’t justify a lot of titles now at high prices. Love vinyl and love CDs. But it’s more CDs these days with a few vinyls from time to time. David Gould

I would say it’s 50 50 for me,as you mentioned everything has gone up in price so has food and petrol.Always looking for the deals,however the price of vinyl has gone through the roof as you have mentioned Phil so as everybody’s budget&wallet get squeezed tighter I would have to say I have purchased a few more cd formats because of economic constraints.As always,thanking you so very much for your interesting topics,such a fab show cheers mate!!!!! Marc

I’ve definitely been buying more CDs, I’ve found for the price of a latest release vinyl, I can get a CD box set. Much better value for my Australian $$. I will still buy vinyl if it is some kind of special/limited release but overall CDs are king at the moment. Jim

High gas prices have impacted my vinyl collecting. 👎. I am not traveling to out of town record stores every other weekend. Locally, thrift stores and a flea market are where I mostly look for secondhand vinyl and CDs. With one notable RSD exception (that I ordered online from a record store in Hoboken New Jersey named Tunes), I have been buying more CDs. But I adore CDs! 😊. I have never considered them a compromise. 💿. I believe that it is wise for me to be hyper-selective when ordering new vinyl online. Rock Always! – Heather

Not bought any vinyl this year yet, but noticed that vinyl has increased a lot. Was in HMV at the weekend and was about to pick up Presence by Led Zep on vinyl (the one that I missed a few years back) until I noticed it retailed at £37. Ouch! I was also looking forward to picking up the new Blondie set on vinyl, but that’s about £270 on vinyl vs around £90 on cd. A ratio of 3:1 makes cd the more parsimonious choice even though nostalgia draws me to the vinyl version (I had Parallel Lines and Eat to the Beat back in the day). Same musical content, but three times the price. Suspect it will be the cd. As for Presence, that was always the weakest of the Zep albums for me (and yes, I’m including In Through the Outdoor there!). Cheers! Kevin Muldoon

Cd’s also seem to be heading upward in price. I’m trying to be more selective overall now than I was and am also waiting for some titles to come down in price unless they are essential new studio albums. Jimmy Gates

Definitely more CDs. I buy vinyl but am more choosy and only tend to buy jazz albums which benefit from the audiophile treatment! Today I raided the charity shops in Ipswich and managed to get 19 really good sounding CDs for about £10. I don’t tend to buy new CDs because I hate the fashion for cardboard sleeves – much prefer the old style jewel cases. Great channel by the way Stuart

I was fortunate to have some bonus points from work so I used the vouchers obtained to buy more vinyl this year and last year. Only special albums only though. I do buy more CDs. As you say CDs have gone up. The latest Kiss Soundboard CD anywhere up to £21.00. The previous two were £14.99 each. I hardly stream now as opposed to lady year which was high for me. Robert Atkin

I cannot justify the cost of vinyl. I usually obtain vinyl when it is contained in a box set with a cd and other goodies. I have a wide range of interest from 80’s Pop to Metal, so focusing on cds as it is better value for money compared to vinyl. Due to cost of living going up, I have cut down in my spending on cds the last few months. Cost of postage has gone up a lot. The effects of Brexit has affected my spending habits, like I will occasionally by a cd from Japan and not worry about customs duty, but if I order from EU I have to worry about how much I can spend without hitting customs duty. Mr NW

hi Phil i love Cds and DVDs i just enjoy the cds easier to store and i think they sound better so long live CDs great video Phil – Frank

This year, I’ve only bought cds so far, and I’ve bought lots of them. Although it’s my favorite format, I don’t myself buying vinyl very soon – Idesaes

Indeed that is the case for me. I’m 20 years old, I don’t have the cash to spend $30+ Canadian for a single album that is possibly pressed from digital. I’ll either buy used, OR just simply buy the CD. Lately I’ve bought a couple box sets from Captain Oi for GBH, Discharge, and The Exploited, for no more than $40 each. That’s around $10 per cd, and these are masterful albums in these sets. Another big thing is that so many bands are recording digitally now. I’m now buying a digital file pressed to vinyl; that’s just a waste of resources. If I really like an album, I’ll seek out the vinyl. Unless it’s recorded on digital of course. Nick

I think it is pre-mature to make a conclusion on record price increases caused by inflation. The data will be more telling come later this year. The USA is facing a rapid inflation not seen since the 1970’s and gasoline prices averages $5 a gallon nationwide. Yet, in this summer, more Americans are traveling by car and plane than ever before. No doubt inflation will affect consumer spending on everything but it is a matter of priorities. I have not seen an immediate jump in vinyl prices but it’s probably coming soon. If you want to talk about price hikes, go rifling through the used records section where prices have shot up substantially and long before this inflation. My priorities have changed and purchase of new media is no longer a primary issue as other more, pertinent expenses have increased. I think many others will make the same choice as myself or simply forego physical media entirely and live in the streaming world where the primary services have also increased their subscription prices. Charlie White

Great video Phil, I’m buying more CD’s and less vinyl. Better price and they sound great. Brian Reynolds

I buy vinyl and cd from bands. And if they release it in different colors i buy them and sometimes i buy Japanese import cds if bonus tracks on them or in the SHM-CD format. Best Bjorn.

Great Question ! Too much good music to buy it all !!
Vinyl and CDs have always been priced as Luxury Goods.
Do we complain when a Big Name Band has no support act?
Who buys the Support Acts CD when they can buy the Main Acts CD for the same price ?
Example Van Halen snd Black Sabbath or you see a CD that you have never seen before or a new Artist’s CD.
I would like to switch to CD in the future becsuse of the prices but I buy both together when I do buy music as the High Street do not have UBER Editions or Fan Club releases that may be of more interest to a music fan ! David Bagnall

If there is a album I really want on vinyl I am waiting in the hope costs come down. Otherwise I’m picking up the odd CD.

Last purchase on CD? Philip Glass / Bowie / Eno double CD of Heroes and Low symphonies. Cost 10 euro. The last vinyl I got was two Slade reissues. Got each of them for 16 euro. Deals can be found on vinyl but I’m prepared to wait for something I really want rather than pay 30-40 euro.
Can’t justify spending that! Sean Ryan

I’ve been buying more cds for quite awhile now.More bang for your buck.Also if I buy box sets of cd I get more music usually Thomas Wery

I have no vinyl, it’s old technology, I switched in the 80s and would never go back. I just don’t get it, cd’s all day long. Stuart Raybould

Can’t afford new vinyl, mainly new releases cd or old second hand vinyl – Dean Ives

I would never spend 30 Quid on an LP. I can get a 3CD box from Cherry red and a single CD. My days of Vinyl fondling are over and certainly not with this palaver. Good luck to those who want to  – Jim Wood

I haven’t bought any new CDs in over three months because of how crazy the prices all around me have become, even if I could afford I don’t feel it is the responsible thing to do currently…I have limited myself to thrifting and buying super cheap CDs on Ebay, which I am rarely doing now because I don’t want to make extra drives – Mike Burke

I’m Definitely buying more cds now than vinyl. Don’t mind paying £20, £25 for vinyl but anything over £30 no way. Saw vinyl going for £39,£40 in Hmv for a single album! John Messam

That is likely to be the case for me. I will have to pick and choose which ones I really need on vinyl. Chris McGlyn

Virtually always cd….Unless I was looking in charity shops and find a bargain….far too expensive.Have always wanted a splatter vinyl(or whatever it’s called) but never found an artist who I like or just looks cheap but sells for £30+ – Kevin Siddle

I had to change to CD’s at the end of the 80’s because the new releases first came out on CD with credits and lyrics and the vinyls with no information…after I stopped buying vinyl and I like very much the CD format…never streaming…only YouTube for checking and then I buy them on CD… Wolfgang Riessle

I’m a current university student and I’ve amassed a small vinyl collection (40-50 LPs, 15-20 CDs, mostly secondhand), but last fall I pretty much halted my physical purchases and have just been getting along with Spotify. Between albums and equipment and lack of use, it’s just too much money at the moment 🙁 Hunter Negron

I’ve definitely cut back on record buying, the cd option is certainly the way to go for me at the moment, much as I love records. Also because of fuel costs travelling to gigs from where I live in Devon is so much more costly now. But if I do manage to get to a show I normally put a bit of money aside to buy a record or two from the bands I’m seeing. Usually when you buy direct from the bands themselves you’ll be paying £20 for an album, £25 tops, AND you know the money goes directly to the musicians. Bob Darlington

Hi Phil, definitely buying a lot more CD’s, lost faith in vinyl as you mentioned the quality is very hit and miss, warping is the main issue sick and tired of returning the vinyl to Amazon, keep the discs spinning. Another great video . Kevin Stephens

There’s many reasons I have cut back on vinyl, rising cost is just the most recent one. As someone who is disabled and on a limited income to begin with CDs are and have been my best option. I love vinyl (when it’s done right) but new records are mostly outrageous in price. Audiophile records are out of the question for me now. When I can buy used CDs for $1 to $3 each, I get more for my money. Even used records are starting to shoot up in price. New CDs are still affordable. I don’t really stream for a few reasons. I do have SiriusXM but that’s the closest I get to streaming. Anthony Mangano

You made some very salient points Phil. I currently operate on a system for new music and new releases from established bands by streaming the music first. I know it’s not the ideal way to instantly support an artist.
After streaming an album for a week or so I make a judgement whether to purchase the physical album.
Then it’s a case of do I support the high street retailer or the online retailer? A moral dilemma.
Sometimes the online price can be the decider. But I do regularly pay for stuff on the high street.
For instance there’s a Ten Years After CD boxset for £29 online I recently purchased After streaming said artist. In the high street it costs more.
For vinyl purchases they tend to be mainly second hand from an established second hand record.
store.And it’s usually an artist I have loved for years. And to be fair I class a second hand vinyl purchase as a treat.
These days it would have to be an absolute classic iconic album from my youth that I would buy new on vinyl.
The price of new vinyl has to be paid for but again its maybe one or two items a year.
So for me in order to appeal to the Yorkshireman in me it’s CD boxsets all the way. And to be fair you have to snap them up at their original release before stocks go down and then they are resold at auction sites at outrageous prices.
The vinyl format however still has a draw for me but it’s got to be at the right price. John Thompson

Hi Phil,
I am just sticking my twopence worth in on your video on vinyl prices. I have a big vinyl collection, especially of 60s and 70s singles and compilation LPs made in the early 000s in Europe of 60s garage rock etc and on coloured vinyl often when, vinyl was almost a bygone format. I stopped buying it some years back to focus on CDs. I am not that sure CDs are that cheap either. Certainly cheaper than vinyl but the stuff I buy on CD can be £13-£15 each, nearer to what they were when CDs were still a novelty in the 80s. Cherry Red still manage to do a good job on pricing though I think in terms of value for money.

The main thing is, I am really soft on box sets. I find box sets are usually the way to go, with lots of the little clamshell boxes from Cherry Red carrying moments or whole careers in an artist’s life most gratifyingly. I think one thing to bear in mind is the use of mixed media in box sets. I will buy a box set that has a vinyl LP in it if the rest are CDs such as last year’s Muse super Deluxe set and the upcoming ‘Sulk’ box set (40th anniversary) by The Associates. I also have the Yardbirds Roger The Engineer box set with LP, vinyl singles and CDs. I quite like these sort of mixed bags and they do not seem to be that expensive overall. The Associates set is £45 pre-order.

There is also the trend for artists to issue their new releases as vinyl or download but not on CD. Where they do so, the CD and packaging is often now minimal such as a tightly fitting single card sleeve. Recent examples being the Wetleg and Yard Act albums and the Gyasi – ‘Pronounced Jah-See’ album. All great music but virtually no presentation. Box set issues usually do this better. It also reminds me of the early 70s and the OPEC oil crisis which I am sure you recall. Where LPs suddenly dropped from being 140 – 180grm in weight to 80 – 100 grams and consequently warped all over the place and had to be returned (oil being a component of vinyl).

How big can a CD box set get? Al Stewart’s ‘The Admiralty Lights’ is a 50 CD mega box (Out tomorrow on Madfish @£325, 2000 only). Possibly the biggest number of discs for single artist in one box ever? There’s a nice looking Horslips box set (33 CDs) on Madfish again due next month as well. Do you listen to much Celtic rock? I may well be doing so soon!

Keep up the god work on NS Phil, your enthusiasm is always most welcome as are your reviews. I appreciated the Rodger Chapman set review recently, it’s great to see what’s in the box if I haven’t already plumped for it. That’s another thing. So many offers for new CD sets on line only ever show the picture on the lid, there’s no 2D pack shots so you know the packaging / presentation format. Paul Martin

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