What do record sales teach us about marketing today

What the Vinyl Revival means for marketing

Headalignt News • 

What the Vinyl Revival means for marketing

I’m passionate about records. I collect them, I have my own record label, I DJ with records and when I’m not at Headalight I sell them at a record store that belongs to a friend of mine. I’m however also passionate about marketing and recently found myself asking what the vinyl revival means for that? What can it show us?

Some context

Around 2007 something strange started happening in the music industry. Vinyl sales began to climb until, in 2014, they hit an all-time high since 1996, with no signs of slowing down since Sony announced they’ll be producing vinyl again by 2018.

This resurgence can be attributed to a few things: audiophiles will tell you it’s because people want the better audio that records give, but the overarching collective thought tends towards ‘retromania’.

Retromania is by no means a new market trend, though at the moment it would certainly seem to be. Effectively, retromania can be described as a market trend by which there’s a lean towards products that induce feelings of nostalgia as consumers break away from older trends and move towards what feels familiar and cool.


The vinyl revival shows marketing how powerful nostalgia is and urges marketers to try their best to encourage nostalgia in their consumers.

Studies have shown that humans are far more willing to part with their money and make purchases when they’re feeling nostalgic. That’s why when I see a record of music I used to listen to I don’t even think about my purchase decision, it happens impulsively. There’s a natural human compulsion to buy what’s familiar, so by inducing nostalgia sellers can help to form an emotional connection with their audience, thereby encouraging an emotional response that bodes well for buying. 

Whenever the present becomes uncertain, or we start worrying about the future, the past acts as an anchor for us to hold onto. We can see that brands who’ve already started employing nostalgia marketing are having great success. Coca-Cola doubled its sales of 200ml glass bottles and Jack Daniels increased its brand passion index after each company engaged in marketing that reflected its history.

Mixing the old with the new

While I was doing some reading for this topic I came across a Forbes article (see research links at end) which spoke briefly of a vintage-style toy car company that sells wooden toy cars similar to the toys the baby boomer generation would have used.

The company is using digital marketing to foster authentic stories and interactions with consumers while at the same time encouraging across-the-board purchasing of these wooden toy cars. What I took from this piece is that there’s plenty of room for digital marketing to get involved and boost nostalgia marketing to higher levels than ever before.

What this means going forward

It seems clear that nostalgia marketing is not only a viable but powerful tool for marketers, especially digital marketers. So how do we draw on nostalgia effectively? When should we employ nostalgia marketing ? What are our limitations? I’ll answer these questions next time, and give you ideas on how to implement your company’s nostalgia marketing.


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