Vinyl Spins a Good Tune In Britain
Whisper, but don’t shout about it just yet. Vinyl is on the rebound in Britain, and the cold-hard numbers back it up. Shipments of vinyl have soared by 100% in the U.K. in 2013, according to new data provided by trade body the British Phonographic Industry. Vinyl albums are now tracking at more 550,000 units for the year, the first time the format has packed such a punch since 2003.

The BPI is calling it a “vinyl revival”. But no-one should get too carried just yet. Vinyl represents just 0.8% of all albums shifted in the U.K. Though stack that against the dire 0.1% share vinyl represented in 2007, and it’d be a mean-spirited person to deny retailers and labels the chance to celebrate a growth format.

“The LP is back in the groove,” comments BPI CEO Geoff Taylor in a statement. “We’re witnessing a renaissance for records – they’re no longer retromania and are becoming the format of choice for more and more music fans.  This year has been a treat for vinyl aficionados with releases from Daft Punk, David Bowie, Arctic Monkeys and Black Sabbath.”

Whether those records are actually being spun on turntables, or attached to fans’ bedroom walls is a discussion for another day.

In an interview earlier this year, 4AD head Simon Halliday told vinyl was anything but a fad. “It’s for real. It’ll stay,” he said. “In the U.S. at the moment and sometimes in the U.K., we’re looking at 15-20% of the sales of an act are on vinyl.” Every 4AD release is also issued on vinyl.

And who has the best-selling piece of vinyl in Britain so-far this year? The BPI presents that honor to Daft Punk, for their club-friendly global hit “Random Access Memories.”


Japan's Anti-Piracy Law, A Year Later
It’s been a year since Japan imposed what has been described in some corners as pretty draconian anti-piracy laws. No-one is celebrating the anniversary, though, as trade data suggests the record business in the world’s No. 2 market remains pretty gloomy.

In the first eight months of the year, physical product saw a decline in volume of 7% against the same period last year. This comes after a brief -- and somewhat surprising -- spike in interest for soundcarriers.

The issue is tackled in The Japan Daily Press and by Steve McClure in his Japan Times column. And the gist of whether legislation has had the desired effect? It’s too early to tell.


Aussie State Gov't Gets Tough On Scalpers
Ticket scalping is back on the agenda in Australia. The government of New South Wales is developing new laws intended to protect concert-goers from dodgy ticket sellers.

The new rules would mean sellers now have to show photographic proof of the ticket’s existence, with the resale price not exceeding 10% above the original. Websites would be forced to remove traders found in breach of these conditions, or face fines in the thousands of dollars.

The issue was scrutinized in recent years through a NSW government report, titled “Ticket scalping: Ticket Onselling and Consumers.”

Not everyone in the live business is keen on the new measures. There's been praise from promoters, though some ticketing agents have been furious.

Christoph Homann, managing director of resale at Ticketmaster International, was one of those less-than-impressed. “The NSW government’s proposed secondary ticket legislation will neither protect fans nor stop scamming,” he said. “Restrictions rarely stop consumer interest rather; it pushes them into back alleys or in the case of ticket resale to the online equivalent to offshore, unregulated Websites and into the clutches of fraudsters.”
Homann’s position on the secondary market is clear. “Fans want ticket resale and we believe that ticket resale can be offered in a safe and transparent manner.”

Australian ticket-buyers are generally protected under the Trade Practices Act 1974, but only in Queensland does specific legislation exist for unauthorized concert ticket selling. In that state, it is an offense to sell or buy tickets to events held at eight specified venues for a price which is more than 10% above face value.

Michael Gudinski, chairman of the indie powerhouse Mushroom Group and managing director of leading independent promoter Frontier Touring, applauds the NSW government’s actions.

“It’s sad when you see people getting conned. And it still goes on,” he tells “It’s good to see the government standing up and starting to think about it.”


NZ's Year of the Lorde
New Zealand teen Lorde has been treated like royalty in the United States, where her single is perched on the Billboard Hot 100 for a third week. But it’s now her turn to take some plaudits from back home.

Lorde (real name Ella Yelich-O'Connor) and collaborator Joel Little collected the prestigious “APRA Silver Scroll” award during a ceremony this past week at Vector Arena in Auckland.

The Silver Scroll recognizes the achievements of an outstanding songwriter, composer and publisher members from the Land of the Long White Cloud. Lorde was on hand to receive what will surely be the first of many awards.