Polydor Power: ‘Don’t Let Anyone Tell You That the Art Form is Over’


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Cassettes and Vinyls: Back in Time

Polydor Records sees new renowned success in old formats as they set for their fourth consecutive number one album. From fancy vinyl artworks to recycled materials for cassette tapes, it seems that fans still want the old-fashioned way of listening to music, and for the fight to the top spot, it is easy for record labels to spot this. In a combative nature to trump digital streaming, the resurgence of retro will be entering a lot of record labels’ merchandise sites – and not just Polydors‘.

Polydor: Art of Cassettes

Back in April, Five Seconds Of Summer smashed the cassette record by selling 12,000 cassettes of “CALM,” which not only smashed the record but took the album to the number one spot.


Have we accidentally headed back to the 80s? I didn’t even know people still had cassette players. With this being said, I often wonder if consumers merely purchased cassette for the rarity and appeal of such a format and have no intention of playing it for its purpose. Merely a collectible.

I can imagine the fan base of 5SOS find the cassette format unbelievably retro and cool but still play it on their phones for convenience.

Again with young bands like HAIM, there always seemed to be a younger segment that wanted to purchase these ‘collectibles’ of cassettes.

Polydor: Art of Vinyls

Now, we are not strangers to realising how strong vinyls have become in the recent years. With the digital format rising more so within younger generations, it is causing record labels like Polydor to cater their whole strategies around designing and embellishing these art forms that sets apart their artists from the rest.

Vinyls are becoming more than half of chart-eligible sales in the industry – So, Get Your Creative Head On

Whilst being interviewed for Music Week, senior marketing manager for Polydor, Ali Tant wanted to address Polydor‘s importance of taking time with producing these vinyls for the fans.

I take huge pride in the fact too that we’re not cutting corners and putting out poor quality product, The 1975’s Notes on a Conditional Form, was painstakingly manufactured with the exact recycled material the band wanted in the height of lockdown. I’m immensely proud of that vinyl for many reasons, but mostly because we stuck with the artist’s vision for their physical product.

Ali Tant, Senior Marketing Manager
Edgy, original and sophisticated: showcasing the artist’s vision with vinyl

Tant went on to add;

In 2019, Billie Eilish sold over 30,000 vinyl pieces and had the second biggest-selling album of the year on vinyl … to me this shows there are still a lot of fans who want a product they can hold, they can read and engage with. Glass Animals are about to put out one of the finest pieces of vinyl I’ve ever seen. Don’t let anyone tell you that art form is over.

Ali Tant, Senior Marketing Manager

Constantly underlining the industry growth of streaming, one in eight albums are now sold on vinyl, while the average yearly spend per consumer was more than £90.

We haven’t seen numbers like this since the early ’90s. It’s astronomical – and it’s only getting going to get bigger.

Polydor: Finding the Balance

With so many platforms for audience to obtain music from nowadays, is it any wonder that labels have a hard time figuring what audience prefers what; through what channels?

In relation to streaming, it has to be nuanced, you can’t just put spend behind a streaming link and hope you can convert audience behavior. You have to make the whole campaign compelling enough to draw those audiences in and then you’ll see engagement lift naturally across all platforms.

Ali Tant, Senior Marketing Manager

Nowadays, there is something more to music. Instead of an album on a streaming service, you can get personal transcripts from a beautifully designed album sleeve that the band had a hand in themselves. To new audiences for new artists, this is a treasure or a collectible worth having. Even if you don’t have the right device to play it on.

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