David Bowie is best-selling vinyl artist of the 21st Century

The Beatles place second

David Bowie has been revealed as the 21st Century’s best-selling vinyl artist.

The late musician’s vinyl sales for the 2000s of 582,704 (calculated up until January 6) place him ahead of the only other act to top half a million units on the format – The Beatles (535,596 sales).

As revealed by Music Week’s chart analyst Alan Jones, in the 2020s the same two acts lead the way with Bowie on 134,237 sales and The Beatles on 113,613. Based on the Top 10,000 vinyl sellers of 2021, Bowie placed third (53,181) behind The Beatles (58,567) and Taylor Swift (56,917).


However, Bowie is ahead on vinyl for the two years of the decade so far due to a successful reissues campaign.

david bowie
David Bowie playing keyboards, performing live onstage in Iggy Pop’s backing band during ‘The Idiot’ tour (Picture: Ian Dickson/Redferns)

Most recently, Bowie’s “lost” 2000 album ‘Toy‘ has landed in the UK Top 5 with strong physical sales (based on Official Charts Company data). Music Weeks adds that the sales revenue will be substantial as Rhino Entertainment moved almost 1,000 (989) copies of the six 10” vinyl box that retails at almost £120 on the official website.

Total week one sales for ‘Toy’ were 7,400, including the vinyl sales, 5,851 CD box sets priced at £26 (currently sold out on the official store) as well as 240 downloads and 304 sales-equivalent streams.

‘Toy, released on January 7, a day before what would have been Bowie’s 75th birthday, was the week’s overall biggest seller on physical formats (based on substantial CD volume).

Another Bowie vinyl – one of three Top 40 entries – claimed the most vinyl sales of any album in the past week. ‘Hunky Dory’, which was released to mark its 50th anniversary at the end of 2021, made a re-entry at Number 31 – its highest position since 2017 (2,081 of its 2,550 sales in the week were vinyl).


The third album appearance in the latest chart is 2016 Bowie compilation ‘Legacy’, which jumped 38-19 (3,231 sales), reaching its highest chart position for exactly a year amid the Bowie75 campaign activity.

The news comes as the vinyl format has continued to enjoy consecutive years of growth for nearly 15 years. The BPI reported recently that UK vinyl sales in 2021 were the highest they’ve been in 30 years despite widely publicised issues with backlogs and delays.

In the US, vinyl has overtaken CD in unit sales for the first time in decades. According to data from the MRC and Billboard, 38.3 per cent of all album sales in the country last year were in vinyl format, while it accounted over 50 per cent of all physical album sales (41.72 million sales out of a total of 82.79 million).

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