What is the actual percentage of people exclusively listening to vinyl vs digital?


I well remember in the ‘80s when we were amazed and thrilled by CD.
Wow, no more pops and clicks and all the physical benefits.
Seems so many abandoned vinyl.
But now, with so much convenience, available content and high SQ seems even dedicated vinylholics have again abandoned vinyl and embraced digital. However, there is clearly a new resurgence in analog.
But I look at, for example, whitecamaro’s “List of amplifiers...” thread and no one seems interested in analog!
To me, it seems strange when auditioning “$100Kish gear, that vinyl doesn’t enter the picture or conversation.
mglik
Good luck finding an official number.

I ‘left’ LP’s about 35 years ago for the most part too.

Two years ago, dove back into vinyl out of curiosity, and now, I would say at least 85% of my listening is via vinyl, and also have a Nak cassette deck I use occasionally. Thank goodness I kept most all my LP’s. I also have many CD’s, and at times, play those as well, but rarely if ever, mix LP and CD listening. I rarely stream, but do subscribe to Tidal.

I would have to say I, and others like me, are a very small percentage of all folks, (who listen to music), do so 80-100% via pure analog sources. I would imagine even a small percentage of all ‘audiophiles’.

But, how many have a turntable in their set-up, but only use it 5-10% of the time? Even that number is probably very low for *all* music listeners.

Has turntable and LP sales increased? Yes, sure, but what are we comparing that to? CD sales have also plummeted, probably as much as LP’s did during the 80-90’s.

Bottom line, most *all* music listeners are not buying albums at all anymore, in any format. Most all are streaming various music via a streaming service.

That certainly isn’t me. I still buy LP’s, CD’s, and even an occasional cassette. I just ‘have to’ have a physical medium. I ‘have to’ own my music in a tangible way. That’s how I grew up in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, and beyond.
Who can really tell can you?
I have never listened to vinyl. It was CDs to DVDs. Now my music is either Flac files or streamed over WiFi via tidal (hifi/master). I am thinking about adding vinyl to a new system I am planning. 
I just recently got back into vinyl, and broke out my albums. Some I have not heard in about 40 years. That being said, I am a fan of my CD/ digital side more. The noise, clicks and pops are just one item, but all in all, my cd's sound better. 90/10. 
Here's your first poll for vinyl.  I primarily listen to vinyl.- currently, while waiting for my new turntable, I have only listened to music (Qobuz) twice over a period of a month. Typically, I would've averaged five to six times that.  
One problem, you are all very old (nearly all of you, sorry). Let’s face it!

Convenience is important when you’re old, I often read that people are too lazy even to pull the LP or to flip it over.

You can talk about sonic difference or "clicks and pops" in every posts about analog vs. digital, but nobody really cares about sonic difference, except for boring audiophiles (often with awful taste in music, if any).

Younger generation have different attitude about vinyl culture and have so much enthusiasm about it. They appreciate the nature of vinyl and don’t want to make vinyl sound like their father’s or grandfather’s CD. Some of them don’t know what is CD, because they have streaming since they are born (in the digital world).

And while older people lost their enthusiasm about vinyl and at their age only discovering streaming, the situation is totally different with some people born in digital era.

Between the different generations of grandfathers and their grandchild we have Pepsi Generation, kids grew up in the late 80’s - early 90s. In my country it was a time for cassette tapes and early days of CDs (in the 90’s). Even 25 later in my mind the CDs associated only with 90’s era. It was a way cooler to copy an expensive CD on some nice chrome Maxell or TDK cassette tapes (handwritten titles).

Since the mid 90’s I collect vinyl records, this is my main listening format and it’s getting better and better over the years with my system upgrades (and growing collection of original records from the 70’s).

Free streaming services used only to discover music and buy it on vinyl.

Vinyl all over the room, record shelves ... this is a lifestyle.

Big vintage high-end turntables, cartridges, speakers, different tonearms, phono stages ... this is so cool and it’s all real. It’s impossible to replace this lifestyle with streaming from nowhere even if it’s super HD, my favorite music was recorded on multi-track tape, mastered on analog studio equipment, and pressed on vinyl. This is the OG!

And BTW I went to the local record store nearby, it was opened by Pepsi Generation people, buyers are mostly very young, but look at the system


I have no true preference for any one format. Maybe CDs are generally less satisfying in terms of fidelity than vinyl or streaming, but for me it's almost always the question of what piece of music I want to hear. If that piece of music happens to exist in my CD collection, so be it.  
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@chakster

Convenience is important when you’re old

Ummmm.....I’m ‘old’. I think you you might be over generalizing, just a tad.

Now, my mother is 86, has some physical ailments that make is very hard for her to get around, even to get out of her chair, and into another, or a car, or her bed. But that has nothing to do with laziness. It is much more convenient for her to have digital sources for her use in all forms. And she does. It makes her life much easier than it may have been 30-40 years ago.

Could that happen to me too? Sure it could, and I do think about that, and what that could mean in continuing my audio journey in years to come. At that point, should the same happen, I may also have to also forego my love for analog physical medium too in order to continue to enjoy my music. But that won’t be because of laziness or convenience as a choice, but rather a necessity.

I guarantee that the vast majority of ‘young people’ are only using digital sources as well. And even among them, turntables and LP use is still a small percentage of all those who listen to music. It may be growing, sure, but at what percentage? It isn’t like when I was young, and if you listened to music, you had to have a turntable and records.

 I started listening to CD from the 90's, skipped the first good selling years of digital and increased my vinyl collection. Now i mostly listen to Vinyl and FM, CD/SACD comes after. So one vote for the percentage.
 Re-entering vinyl or start afresh is not happening today, has started for some time now. Same people listening to all formats, nothing wrong with that.
As for no one seems interested in analogue check AG "whats on your turntable tonight".

G

@bkeske my mom is 78 this year, but we are not talking about moms here, ok?


I’m talking about lazy audiophiles and 90% of the a’gon members are over 60, they are often complaining that it’s too complicated for them to flip vinyl record while they are listening to music, and “clicks and pops” are so annoying for them, so they discovered better format and this format is CD (sensational news). 


Vinyl industry did not die because of the dance music in the 90’s and it was difficult times, let’s face it too. That was music for young generation and it has nothing to do with audiophiles. 


DJs/collectors rediscovered music from the 70’s in the 90’s and spread it all over the world once again (via fm radio, clubs, on mixtapes). 


Nothing changed much, they are still doing it, and there are only young people in the recordshops in my town, audiophiles world is just parallel reality. 

However, music on high-end shows is extremely boring, same tunes. 


Streaming is just like FM radio, you can always use it, but there are vinyl world somewhere near to buy records, this is a lifestyle. 






I use Amazon HD digital in the car, and used to use it on headphones at work, but I work at home since covid and listen almost exclusively to vinyl.  I occasionally use digital to check out new music, and sometimes for background music thru the living room HT system.

I find that having to flip sides and change records keeps me from spending hours straight coding without moving from my chair.  I tend to get really focused.
Not to generalize, the younger generation seems to listen to their phones with ear buds all day and slap on the vinyl when they get home. Level of analog system does not seem to matter-vinyl just sounds more "human".
Still listen to about 1 CD a day in my nice office system.
My reaction is, "Wow, it sounds really interesting." compared to my analog rig, "Wow, I am speechless."
@chakster 

I’m talking about lazy audiophiles and 90% of the a’gon members are over 60, they are often complaining that it’s too complicated for them to flip vinyl record while they are listening to music, and “clicks and pops” are so annoying for them, so they discovered better format and this format is CD (sensational news).

Again, I think you are over-gereralizing. I’m 63. Many in my age group left vinyl completely by the 90’s and went to primarily CD’s, and then to streaming. It was a natural progression, and most didn’t want to reinvest in a turntable rig after 30 years. Some, as I, did. But that has nothing to do with laziness, just how the music media changed and also what the manufacturers were concentrating on. When CD’s were released, and I went to a high end audio shop back then, believe me, they were pushing CD players, not turntables. That was the future, and that is what they were pushing.

Its a shame, but that was just the reality.
I’m an old fart. I never stopped listening to vinyl, it has slowly been going down in relative use. For a long time my system would oscillation between the analog sounding a lot better and not so much better. So now I have a top of the line music server and a near the top new Linn LP12 with 2,000 albums. The analog side is better than the digital side... but finally both are very satisfying. I play albums about 15% of the time. It is fun to hear the extra level of detail. but I’m not that fond of getting up every 20 minutes. Sometimes it is just fun to search for used vinyl, clean, and play it. On the other hand I have access to hundreds of thousands of albums via music server to explore and only 2,000 albums.
A better question would be what is the percentage of people (humans) that don't know the difference.
Again, I think you are over-gereralizing. I’m 63. Many in my age group left vinyl completely by the 90’s and went to primarily CD’s, and then to streaming.

Maybe, but I’m 45 this year and I sold all my CDs in the early 90’s and since that time I don’t have anything but vinyl/turntables in my system and keep searching and buying OG records all the time (if i’m not completely broke). A friend came with his high-end DAC and high resolution streaming to compare digital to analog in my system, the original LP was so much better that high resolution digital (he was upset a bit). Many of my younger friends are into vinyl, very few are into both vinyl and digital.

But we’re in Russia, St.Petersburg. Maybe it’s a cultural difference. Also different generation as I said earlier.

I don’t thing digital is natural progression from analog. Digital is ok only for new music recorded on digital master. But digital copy from good analog tape is bad. For old music lovers digital can’t replace the analog. There are oustanding quality records recorded in the 70’s (my favorite period).



"Amazed and thrilled" by CD? I hardly think so. The initial CD machines were awful. It was obvious that the format was going to fly as it was so convenient relative to vinyl and you could play it in your car. Anything would be better than cassettes.
I listen to CD exclusively. I just bought my retirement system, several years early. I figure I can enjoy it while I wait to retire. This is the best sounding system I have ever owned. I’m just a blue collar guy that got hooked on this hobby when I was a teenager. I don’t question the format that anyone listens to. Just enjoy the music. 
I mostly listen to vinyl and do enjoy cd’s and they are dirt cheap now.

Key for me is having a great CD Transport and a Great DAC. All Moon by Simaudio running through a 340i and Sonus faber Olympica Nova 3’s. 
@chakster

I don’t think this thread is about the qualities of vinyl vs digital. I already stated my listening is at least 85% vinyl. I made my decision, as have you.

the question was, what percentage of *people* (not audiophiles) who listen to music listen exclusively analog vs digital. As I said, folks as us are a very small percentage of all music listeners. But, I have no idea what that percentage is. You?
This took a lot of research. Cross-referenced and weighted by country, with statistical certainty of six-sigma, the answer is, zero. Zero percent listen exclusively to vinyl. 

So now you know. Next?
Unlike many of you, I do not assume that my personal experiences reflect the majority. I am 74 years old and was very disappointed the first time I heard the "state of the art" CD format and thus never embraced it. Years later when the bugs (jitter, etc.) were reportedly sorted out I re-visited the format and still found it lacking. So obviously I never abandoned vinyl. I went to many garage and yard sales and bought up all the records I could get my hands on and there were many others doing likewise. About five years ago I added a CD-9 to my my ARC system. It sits idle 99% of the time as I am just not motivated to listen to it, but it does look good on my rack and during the winter months does an admirable job of keeping my music room toasty. When I want background music I prefer to listen to FM radio but believe a listener should embrace whatever format works for him.
@millercarbon 

Well, the question was analog, not vinyl. But your answer is probably still close to correct.

Now, the other half of the question. I’m sure we don’t know that either. But I bet it is a fairly large percentage of *all people*.
Bought my first turntable in 1962, joined Columbia Record Club and my new bride and I enjoyed vinyl for 25 years.We finally tried the CD craze mid/late 80's but we were never as enthusiastic in our listening as the vinyl era.  This had less to do with the medium and more to do with the evolution of popular music, children, job growth, etc.
It was not until 2000 or so that we began to have the time and money again to listen to music extensively and we found that we reverted to the music we enjoyed when we were younger.
We began to rebuild our vinyl collection, chose the CD's and LP's that we thought provided higher quality sound (Verve, Chess, Blue Note...),  and slowly upgraded our audio gear by selectively buying used equipment.
We both preferred vinyl, equally for the type of music and the sound quality.  However each of us remembered a better quality of vinyl sound that we were not experiencing. Tried different cartridges, cleaning systems, etc.
Finally, when I was shopping for my first brand new amp/preamp (2020), I read a review which indicated that the accompanying phono section of this Class D integrated amp was in itself worth the purchase price.  So I nervously took the plunge and unbelievably the reviewer was correct.We are overjoyed and listen to vinyl daily.Yes we still purchase used CD's and used vinyl as well according to genre most enjoyed, but the searching and buying and adding to our collection is a joint effort in our  ''old" age.We vaguely understand what streaming, internet radio and HD downloading is, but we don't care about it.Our vintage audio gear, plus our newest integrated amp, along with 50 year old records, 35 year old CD's, 40 year old speakers give us an excellent quality of sound.We care little about more expensive speakers cable, interconnects, sand weights speakers, turntable platter weights, room sound enhancements, etc., etc. We just enjoy the music.Admittedly, we are in a demographic slice that missed out on a formal computer education, both during school and vocation and thus are pretty much turned off over most things digital.But isn't it primarily about the music entering the ears and secondarily the source?

Trying to conduct a statistical analysis of vinyl playback vs digital playback formats from a varied population of music aficionados on this forum is, well, hopeless. Personally, I play about 95% vinyl compared to digital. I use digital streaming when cleaning the cars, cruising to car shows, or cleaning the house. I guess you could say streaming for me has been reduced to background noise while I perform other tasks. Come to think of it, I much rather listen to my car rev to its 8400 rpm redline more often than to listen to music in the car, despite it also being upgraded with custom JLAudio stuff. 

You would be better off going to surveymonkey and creating a survey, sending it out, and then gathering all the empirical data to create your percentile. It still would only be based off the limited amount of respondents who freely participated. Alternatively, you can count the amount of replies in the post and see if there is enough data to help create a percentile. Although, this would not be accurate as to the true extent of how much vinyl is played back vs digital formats because this forum only represents a very small sample of music aficionados across the globe. 
Maybe, but I’m 45 this year and I sold all my CDs in the early 90’s and since that time I don’t have anything but vinyl/turntables in my system and keep searching and buying OG records all the time (if i’m not completely broke).


You were what, 16 in 1990. You sold all your CDs by the time you turned 18?  Me thinks the tale you tell is tall.


80/20 vinyl to digital ratio 
I don’t know the definition of what some refer to as: “young generation,” and I can’t relate to all the changes that took place in the 1980’s, but I can relate to the different aural experiences from listening to my father’s CD / Vinyl / Tape collections. Overall, I feel that Digital vs. Analog have their own merits with unique musical qualities, therefore I cherish all formats equally. 

I’m old enough for LP’s to have been the only album format available (my first records were 7" 45RPM singles). I never went for pre-recorded 8-tracks or cassettes, already being an audiophile by the time they were introduced. I held out against CD’s for as long as possible, always buying a new release on LP if it was offered. By sometime in the early-90’s, very few new releases were being offered on LP. What was I gonna do---not buy a new release just because it was on CD only? By that time I had a collection of somewhere around 5000 LP’s. I accepted the situation and began acquiring new music on CD, over the next coupla decades amassing a CD library of in the neighborhood of 7000-8000 of the little silver devils.

In 2015, after the deaths of quite a few longtime friends and musical comrades (including hi-fi retailer Brooks Berdan, whose LP collection dwarfed mine by multiples), the matter of my mortality and remaining time left on Earth came into focus for me. How many hours of music listening time do I have left?, I wondered. With that consideration as well as an upcoming major relocation approaching, I decided to go through all my discs and get rid of the titles that, though cool albums, I knew I was never going to listen to again. Why have an album you’re never going to play? Just to have it? Those and the titles I had never cracked the shrink-wrap on, and admitted to myself were no longer of interest to me.

I know the used product manager at Amoeba Records in Hollywood (he was a sales rep for one of the larger Indi record distributors when I was the Indi product buyer at a Tower Records), and he gave me top dollar for the discs I brought him: around 1500 LP’s and a few thousand CD’s. He couldn’t use the 1000 Classical CD’s I had to sell, but Atomic Records on Magnolia Blvd. (a very cool little shop, owned by two Jazz-loving brothers. They have and use a VPI or Nitty Gritty RCM---I can’t remember which, better than most shops.) in Burbank bought them all.

It wasn’t until I started reading all you LP hounds posting in the "What’s On Your Turntable Tonight" thread here on Audiogon, and watching all the Vinyl Community members posting videos on YouTube in which they showcase their collections and/or new LP acquisitions---especially this past year, everyone sitting around the house for months at a time---that I started buying new and used LP’s again on a regular basis. They’re SO much more fun and engaging than CD’s, regardless of the difference in sound.

I have a lot of music I love that has been released only on CD. I know @slaw (and maybe some others) is an LP purist, but I can’t do that. Many of my favorite Classical albums have never been available on anything other than CD, and plenty of Pop (all non-Classical genres) too. I’m a bi-guy, okay? ;-) It’s all about the music, before the format, or even the recorded sound quality for that matter.
"It sits idle 99% of the time as I am just not motivated to listen to it, but it does look good on my rack..."


Are you talking about my turntable?
 listen to streaming and lp almost daily. have cd too.

digital streaming or replay much easier to hit a high level. especially with current r2r. my system is already maxed out with digital. 

while vinyl is the most interesting medium. every combo can give you a different dac. really keep me interested and fun. being able to collect stuff.

is my vinyl better than digital? not subjectively. but emotionally vinyl is da best. when vinyl system is in good form it's like heaven. appreciate that moment. 
i am now 90% streaming

spin an lp or play a cd maybe once or twice a month
I never 'gave up' on records.
I did embrace CD's because of convenience, portability, and durability.  If alone I listen to vinyl. When guests visit,  CD's, or music I've ripped to a thumb drive.  I prefer records overall.  I'm 65.
I have roughly 2000 CD's, 100 SACD's and 1000 LP's. 
For convenience, I listen to CD/SACD 75% of the time, and LP's the remaining 25%.  By the way, I believe SACD's rivals LP's for 
quality of sound, especially since I have a high quality Marantz CD player.  For vinyl. I have the new Technics SL1200 turntable, which also produces great sound.  
I have not put in a CD in months.  Vinyl only for now. Over 2500 albums, love the sound, can't get enough...new (just released) to old (1920).  Yes I can play 78.
I only listen to vinyl or cd's, I have never streamed anything and do not ever intend to. I still have one of my first turntables that I bought back in 1978 and listen to it at least 5 times a week, but mainly listen to my newer turntables that I have gotten in the last 10 years.Vinyl just seems to me to be more purest in nature just like my tube gear.I do not think that vinyl will go away anytime soon at least not in my lifetime.And vinyl is not for the young so much as it is nostalgia for us older people.
bdp -- We must have run into each other at some time or another. I bought my share of music at Amoeba and at Atomic Records. The wife and I met at the Tower in Panorama City, and we both later worked at Tower Classics on the Sunset Strip. I bought a passel of components from Brooks Berdan and was truly saddened when I heard he passed on. He was one of the reasons why I'd find myself in Pasadena.  
chakster,
Not everyone who chooses to listen to digital music, (CD's in my case) is old and or lazy. I find my setup as satisfying as my analog setup was many years ago, more in some ways. I do many things on a daily basis which are much more difficult than cleaning and flipping records; I just choose not to.   
I am 73.  Bought my first LP in 1964. Have been buying ever since.
Bought a NAD cd player early 90's. It has not been connected up for 25years. CD's are soulless. Aesthetically poor.
As I said on a thread somewhere on here a few days ago, if you are hearing noise. scratch, pops,crackle, static etc something is seriously wrong with your records or gear. The majority of my vinyl is dead quiet, if you were not looking you would not know it was on the lead in groove.
I sit and read the cover and inserts even though I have read them before.
I love @millercarbon comments, always look for them, but his post above is incorrect. I listen exclusivly to vinyl, so although it would be small, that would still be a percentage?

I’m 66. Got my first audiophile tt when I was 15 in 1970. I learned how to care for my LP’s from day one. I still have every LP I bought unless it was a total stinker and I sold it or traded it in. 99% or more of my vinyl has no clicks or pops....not an issue.
I too bought some CDs in the 90’s. Most of them were OK.. not great but I found good use for them in the car or as background music for parties and get-togethers. They did deliver higher fidelity than FM and well satellite...don’t even go there...OK if you think AM is good.
Vinyl was still getting 80% of the playing time at home.
CDs still have a place...many newer artists in the last couple decades did not bother to publish their works on vinyl, so CDs come to the rescue there. As I type, I’m listening to Donald Fagan’s Morph the Cat CD..try finding that on vinyl for less than $400 these days. Or try finding Bozzio Levin Stevens - Back Light Syndrome on anything but CD ...good luck.
There are good LP’s and there are terrible ones...same goes for CDs...it’s good to expand your options.
Enter 2019 and streaming, finally. I really value streaming..as it allows you to explore genres and artists that you’ve never heard of and probably never would risk the cash on an album.
I stream maybe 40% of the time..not because I’m old and am too lazy to get off my butt and tend to a record, but because I love exploring all that great music out there.
Streaming has increased the number of vinyl LPs I buy, because I’m discovering lots of new (new to me) music and best of all, I can fully audition every album before buying it. The days of shelling out for a new LP only to find that you can’t stand all but the only 2 tracks you’ve already heard.
Enter Covid-19, working from home. When I have hours of technical analysis and reports to do, I’m not going to be concentrating on the music or jumping up and down to tend to a turn table. It’s the perfect time for playing a playlist...hours of hand picked, reasonably high quality music for inspiration and pacing.

Silly question as far as I’m concerned..anyone who ONLY listens to one format is missing out.
i was digital and had spent a big dollar and then got into vinyl for one tenth of the cost (initially, no about one third maybe) and double the pleasure.  only the actual music costs more but i get to listen to stuff i actually like rather than jazz.  so it all works out,

i reckon a higher % than one might think are listening to vinyl.  every audiophile i interact with lately has been interested in vinyl.

i have listened to very good digital (it was my obsession for 2 years).  in my opinion records are as good or better (record quality varies quite a bit).  i have a 45 single of Rolling Stones Emotional Rescue that is the epitome of why i'm into audio.  It sounds so live and charming on vinyl.  it is amazing and makes me very happy.

anyway, a higher number than you'd reckon is all i am saying.
Well I came back into  music from the HT world and I have not looked back.  I love my theater setup.  But when I dived into audiophila by getting my first turntable in 30 years as an anniversary present I could not believe how much I've been missing.  I use vinyl about 80%, CDs 10, and streaming (Tidal, Qobuz with Bluesound Node 2i-for MQA).  I sit stunned listening anew to my old albums, CDs and discovering the nuances of favorite tracks now enhanced beyond my wildest dreams with state of this art equipment I couldn't come close to when I was young.  I couldn't dream I'd fall in love all over again with music that had become blase'  from my substandard stereo setup or FM radio in the 80s and 90s.  Essentially, I stopped listening to music altogether, except as background sound.  I did this for years as I turned myself into a full-blown home theater geek.  But thanks to this resurgence of interest in vinyl, (thanks youngsters!), ALL musical formats have been revitalized ..people are listening and talking about music again, and that is a very good thing.
Was a total vinyl junkie that used to demonstrate to friends how much better a recording sounded on lap rather than cd. Even when the initial recording was digitally recorded! That made me pause... 
after several decades and remastering of many recordings in high-res, purchase of a really good dac (Yggdrasil) blew my mind at how much better digital streaming was than my vinyl. I have a good but aging setup of equivalent cost for my vinyl- Ariston RD11S turntable, modified Grace 707 tone arm, and Benz Ace cartridge.  Hardly ever listen to my records anymore.
“What is the actual percentage of people exclusively listening to vinyl vs digital?”

<10%. 
The percentage of people who both listen exclusively to streaming and deserve pummeling would be a much easier question to answer.
with the pummelling that's an easy 100% i reckon.

savages

i'd get mad about it if i wasn't so soothed by my vinyl rig :-)