UK vinyl sales in 2020 are the highest since the early ’90s

Aided by campaigns such as LoveRecordStores, Record Store Day and National Album Day

Sales of vinyl records in the UK this year are the highest since the early ’90s, new data has revealed.

End-of-year figures released by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) show that sales have soared despite two national coronavirus lockdowns, with vinyl sales growing for the 13th year running.

The new figures reveal that nearly one in five (18%) of all albums purchased across 2020 were vinyl, with 4.8 million LPs being purchased. The new numbers are 10% up on 2019’s figures, and the highest since the Britpop boom of the early 1990s.

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Campaigns such as LoveRecordStores, Record Store Day and National Album Day also helped rally sales for independent record shops and specialist chains.

Geoff Taylor, chief executive of BPI, said: “In a year when all our lives have changed, music’s power to inspire has never been more evident. The immediacy and convenience of streaming make it the go-to audio format for most of our listening, but more and more fans choose to get closer to their favourite artists and albums on vinyl.

“It’s remarkable that LP and audio tape sales should have risen at all given the challenges we’ve all faced. The surge in sales despite retail closures demonstrates the timeless appeal of collectable physical formats alongside the seamless connectivity of streaming.”

The predicted best-selling vinyl LPs of 2020 are as follows:

1.   Fleetwood Mac – ‘Rumours’
2.   Oasis – ‘(What’s The Story) Morning Glory?’
3.   Amy Winehouse – ‘Back To Black’
4.   Nirvana – ‘Nevermind’
5.   Harry Styles – ‘Fine Line’
6.   Kylie Minogue – ‘Disco’
7.   AC/DC – ‘Power Up’
8.   Queen – ‘Greatest Hits’
9.   IDLES – ‘Ultra Mono’
10. Arctic Monkeys – ‘Live At The Royal Albert Hall’

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Even as the physical music market took a dip by almost half in March when the first nationwide lockdown forced high street retailers to close, the first signs of this year’s soaring vinyl sales in the UK came when record stores re-opened in June for the first time since lockdown.

This year also saw vinyl outsell CDs for the first time since the 1980s. According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), vinyl contributed a staggering $232 million (£181 million) to total physical sales of $376 million (£278 million) in the first half of 2020.

Meanwhile, last week saw the United States sell the most amount of vinyl records in history in a single week. The pre-Christmas rush saw nearly 2 million LPs sold across the country.

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