UK vinyl spending set to overtake CDs for first time since 1980s

"Fans want to get closer to the artists they love by owning a tangible creation"

Sales of vinyl in the UK are on track to overtake CDs for the first time in decades, with record labels last year seeing a 30 per cent boost in income from the traditional format.

That’s according to the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), which says income looks to surpass CDs for the first time since 1987 when Rick Astley and Pet Shop Boys topped the charts.

Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the BPI, told The Guardian: “Vinyl’s exceptional performance despite retail lockdowns confirms its role as a long-term complement to music streaming.


“2021 is likely to be the year in which revenues from LPs overtake those from CDs for the first time in well over three decades – since 1987. In addition to the immediacy and convenience of streaming, fans want to get closer to the artists they love by owning a tangible creation.”

Additionally, the number of vinyl records sold hit a three-decade high of 4.8m in 2020. The Official Charts Company lists Fleetwood Mac‘s ‘Rumours’ in the top spot followed by Oasis‘ ‘What’s The Story, Morning Glory?’ and Amy Winehouse‘s ‘Back To Black’

The number of CDs sold dropped by almost a third to 16 million in 2020. The Guardian added that as recently as 2010 the format was worth £563million to UK record labels when income from vinyl was £3.5million. Record labels reported an 18.5 per cent slump in CD income last year to £115million.

A report at the end of 2020 revealed that nearly one in five (18 per cent) of all albums purchased across 2020 were vinyl, with 4.8million LPs being purchased. The numbers posted last December were 10 per cent up on 2019’s figure – the highest since the Britpop boom of the early 1990s.

Streaming continues to be the dominant force overall, with the BPI revealing in January that the amount of music streamed in 2020 year rose by 22 per cent to 139billion audio streams, up from 114billion in 2019.