An IKEA turntable, and why record prices are skyrocketing

An IKEA turntable, and why record prices are skyrocketing

An IKEA turntable, and why record prices are skyrocketing

In this edition of Record Roundup – my ongoing hallmark of all things turntable – there are two signs that we may have reached the pinnacle of vinyl. First, Swedish flat-pack furniture giant IKEA has announced its own turntable. And secondly, Billboard has a downside to the continued rise in turntable popularity: records are getting harder and harder to find, with prices going through the roof. Here’s what you need to know.

IKEA announces a turntable

IKEA is best known for modern, affordable and sometimes difficult to assemble furniture. However, the company is becoming faster at recognizing technical trends and is prepared to respond to them. This includes IKEA brand wireless speakers and furniture with integrated wireless charging.

So it should probably come as no surprise that the company is jumping on the vinyl wagon. Last week IKEA announced the new OBEGRÄNSAD turntable, designed in collaboration with Swedish House Mafia.

The new turntable has a simple, sturdy look that combines a square and a circle and makes a visual statement. Power is supplied via USB and there is an integrated preamp, allowing the OBEGRÄNSAD to be used with many different audio systems. IKEA says emphasis was placed on a solid construction to absorb vibrations, as well as a replaceable stylus “of well-known brand and good quality”. The company also wanted to make sure its turntable was easy to use and affordable.

The company has not published any specs, but has posted photos of the OBEGRÄNSAD, which offer some tantalizing clues. The element in the photos is from Audio Technica, which is a good sign. The photo also shows an interesting choice in a pair of RCA jacks mounted on the side of the turntable rather than the traditional rear position. This would make the entrances more accessible, but could also lead to cable clutter.

The price is also not yet known, but IKEA says the OBEGRÄNSAD turntable will be on the market this fall.

Records get even more expensive

Getting your hands on a decent turntable is one thing. Finding the records to play on is another. If you’ve noticed that records are getting both harder to find and much more expensive, you’re not imagining it. Billboard just published a feature detailing the factors involved (subscription required).

Vinyl sales increased by more than 50% in 2021 to nearly 42 million units sold. As demand grew, costs rose. The price of vinyl pellets used to make records rose three times last year, nearly doubling the cost of the raw material. In March alone, the price of nickel doubled – meaning the cost of the stampings used by record factories has also risen sharply. Power, fuel and labor costs have also risen. At the same time, the demand for plates with a limited number of pressing plants means that it sometimes takes a year before a record order is ready.

As a result of the additional costs, record labels have increased wholesale prices, which can now reach as much as $24 for a record. Those are wholesale prices, not retail prices.

The bottom line is, you may want to spend even more time browsing the bins at your local used record store…

Catching up on reviews including the Fluance RT85N

In the time since the last edition of Record Roundup in April, I’ve had the chance to get hands-on with some interesting turntables.

Among those reviews were the Fluance RT85N (the company’s first with a Nagaoka cartridge) and the Victrola Premiere V1 Music System (a CES award-winning all-in-one system with a wireless subwoofer).

Are you looking for a new record player or record player, take a look here.

And if you missed the previous edition of Record Roundup, you can catch up here.