Key Production

Music fans would buy more records if made more sustainably, vinyl production broker reveals

Research from Key Production reveals over two thirds (69%) of vinyl consumers would buy more if records were made more sustainably // 77 per cent of regular vinyl customers willing to pay a premium for reduced impact products // 83 per cent of general public are unsure or don’t see 180g heavyweight vinyl as more valuable than standard

London, UK, 16th May 2024 A recent survey conducted by Key Production, the UKs largest broker for physical music production, has shed light on the increasing demand for environmentally friendly physical music, particularly vinyl, among music consumers. 

The research revealed that over two thirds (69%) of vinyl buyers indicated they would be encouraged to buy more if the records were made with a reduced environmental impact. The findings also revealed that the vast majority, 77 per cent, of regular vinyl customers are willing to pay a premium for reduced impact products, signalling a significant market demand for eco-friendly alternatives. 

Moreover, the survey provided some compelling insight into consumers’ perception of the value of heavyweight vinyl. 180g vinyl is often distributed as the more valuable product, due to its increased heft and perceived richer audio quality. Though due to its heavier weight, extra energy is needed for production, from pressing to shipping. Key Production’s research found that 83 per cent of general respondents don’t perceive, or are unsure, that heavyweight vinyl is more valuable than standard. What’s more, for vinyl buyers this response still remains high at 70 per cent. 

Ahead of The Great Escape festival taking place this week in Brighton, Key Production, a Certified B Corp, suggests these findings could underscore a shift in consumer preferences towards more sustainable and environmentally friendly options in the music industry. Key Production CEO Karen Emanuel will be presenting the survey findings on a panel hosted by the Vinyl Alliance at 2.30-3.30pm this afternoon (16th May), at The Great Escape.

Karen Emanuel, CEO of Key Production Group, said: “As consumer awareness of environmental issues continues to grow, it is evident that there is a substantial market opportunity for eco-friendly vinyl records. Regarding 180g records – while this is often seen by the industry as a more sought after product, this survey shows that the industry is actually getting it wrong as consumers aren’t valuing the weight as they think. High quality records can be made at 140g, and this slightly lower weight can have a hugely positive impact across the whole supply chain.”

The results come at a time where the sustainability of vinyl production is being discussed across the industry. Most notably with Billie Eilish’s newest album ‘Hit Me Hard and Soft’, released tomorrow, which is reported to have been made with a sustainability plan, with vinyl copies pressed to either reground or bio-attributed vinyl and all the packaging made from recycled materials.

Vinyl continues to grow in popularity in 2024, with recent data from ERA showing the combination of Record Store Day (20th April) and Taylor Swift’s latest album delivered the highest weekly sales of vinyl in 30 years. As demand grows, Key Production says it’s now more crucial than ever for the industry to listen to adopt more sustainable methods.

John Service, Strategy and Sustainability Director at Key Production Group, added: “What we’re seeing is a consumer shift towards a demand for physical music made with reduced impact. Vinyl can be made more sustainably with new compounds which replaces the fossil-fuel ingredients, and packaging can be made with completely recycled materials. With the increasing demand, we’re here to work with artists, labels and other stakeholders to ensure we are creating high-quality physical music that is produced as sustainably as possible and meets the needs and values of today’s music consumers”.

Key Production uses its wide network across the supply chain, as well as the wider industry (from customers to industry-wide bodies), to push for improvements in sustainability within physical music production for vinyl, CDs, cassettes and DVDs. From creating a forum for suppliers to share best practices (for e.g. energy efficiencies in manufacturing and on-site renewable energy solutions), to encouraging the uptake of renewable-attributed PVC compounds for its clients, Key are at the forefront of driving change in the industry. 

Founded in 1990, the London-based company is best known for its work with artists such as Nick Cave, Alt-J, IDLES, Little Simz, Ezra Collective, PJ Harvey and Raye on her Brit Award winning album – amongst many more.

For more information, visit keyproduction.co.uk.

Key Production

Music Manufacturing & Creative Packaging Agency formed of Key Production, Breed Media, Modo Design and Think Tank Creative. Fiercely Independent Since 1990.