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Soundscan may only be counting 15% of vinyl sales.txt

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  • 1. Soundscan May Only Be Counting 15% of Vinyl Sales...paulMonday, October 24, 2011Could vinyl sales actually be multiples larger? Weve been quoting some heady gains fromNielsen Soundscan, but what if those figures are woefully undercounted? "Soundscan only getsabout 15 percent," Vince Slusarz of Gotta Groove Records just told the New York Times. "Themajority of the stuff we press, it doesnt even have a bar code."Wow: a 15 percent rate would imply that vinyl sales are actually 7 times larger than we think.Sounds a bit extreme, and Slusarz could be wildly overcounting for obvious reasons. Thenagain, vinyl is oftentimes sold in non-traditional outlets like indie retailers, merch tables, andsmall websites. And, lets not even get started on used vinyl, which makes the whole thing evenmore authentic.But what are the Soundscan numbers, anyway? Try 2.8 million LPs in the US last year, a figuregrowing about 40 percent this year. Whether or not thats closer to 18.7 million is an interestingquestion, though the bigger concern is whether this is all a fad.But if vinyl (and other physical formats) are here to stay, we may be witnessing an interestingconsumer preference for something tangible. One reader calls it the vinyl effect, which maysimply be a reaction to an avalanche of digital intangibility.