Streaming may not be as wonderful as you think
Streaming may not be as wonderful as you think Creative Travel Projects/Shutterstock

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As you've heard many times before, vinyl is back (it never left for some of us), and last year it made more money for labels than ads on free streaming service, according to the RIAA. The US music industry group reported that vinyl LP/EP sales increased 32 percent in 2015 to $416 million (this figure is likely higher, as some tiny indie shops elude RIAA's radar). That's heartwarming news for analog-forever types and a dismal development for the major labels, as the New York Times reported yesterday.

Revenue from music sales in the United States has hovered around $7 billion since 2010, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. For 2015, the number was $7.02 billion, up slightly less than 1 percent from 2014.

Within that steady total, however, have been drastic shifts in listener behavior. CDs and downloads have been gradually abandoned as streaming has become the platform of choice.

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The result is that the music industry finds itself fighting over pennies while waving goodbye to dollars. For instance, the growing but still specialized market for vinyl records is generating more revenue than the music on YouTube, one of the biggest destinations on the Internet, but that’s because YouTube pays royalties in the tiniest fractions of cents.

No matter which is your preferred listening format, though, you can enjoy watching how a vinyl record materializes into that thing you put on your turntable and which improves your life in invaluable ways (or not, as the case may be). Take it away, Vinyl Factory. Some might think this is more entertaining than the HBO series Vinyl.