Vinyl sales skyrocket overseas and in New Zealand after COVID-19 pandemic

The record renaissance has gone from niche novelty to record-breaking sales thanks, partly, to the global pandemic.

Vinyl purchases in the United States have eclipsed those of compact discs for the first time in over 30 years, with local sales echoing the trend.

Apera Te Hemara's record collection is a story of his life.

From the first LP record that he bought in the '70s, he's been hooked on the total experience.

"Just the action of putting the vinyl onto a turntable, putting the stylus on and hearing all the crackles and pops... I think that's great," Te Hemara says.

New Zealand's largest music retailer Real Groovy says for the first time in 40 years, record sales both here and overseas have surpassed those of CDs.

"The Christmas week, not the week before, we sold more new vinyl records than we ever have in the history of Real Groovy," Grant McAllum from Real Groovy says.

The global pandemic has helped increase its popularity as music fans starved of live gigs are now spending their money on vinyl.

"They're spending more on their home entertainment than out-of-home entertainment," McAllum says.

Auckland's local vinyl plant press store Holiday Records is having to hire and train new staff.

"We just really wanted to get someone onboard and teach them the ropes," Joel Woods from Holiday Records says.

Demand for local artists to go vinyl has also grown - it's now fashionable for contemporary musicians to put out a 12-inch. 

Another overseas music trend observed overseas during the pandemic was the renewed interest in music cassettes - sales in the UK last year were up 85 percent and topped £1 million (NZD$1.8M) 

"Young bands are doing their own mixes on 4-tracks, so I think [there will] definitely be a future for cassettes," Te Hemara says.

A global vinyl shortage is causing hold-ups with stock, but it's proving well worth the wait if you're an album aficionado.