Sales of old albums overtake new releases for the first time in US

6 million more catalogue physical albums are sold than current albums

Sales of catalogue albums in the US were greater in 2015 than that of new releases, newly released statistics show.

According to US sales tracker Nielsen Soundscan, physical catalogue albums (any release older than 18 months) accounted for 71.2 million sales last year, compared to 65.8 million new releases sold. In 2005, new releases outsold catalogue releases by 150 million copies.

New releases still lead digital album sales slightly, with 52.5 million new digital releases sold in 2015 compared to 50.9 million catalogue albums.


Meanwhile, vinyl sales recently reached a 26-year high in US.

The Recording Industry Association of America posted sales of nine million vinyl albums in the first half of 2015, compared with 14 million in the whole of 2014.

The vinyl revival has been attributed to younger consumers, what the industry terms as ‘millennials’. MusicWatch reports that half of vinyl record buyers are under 25, with men more likely to buy records than women.

CNBC reported that the last time vinyl sales were so high in the US was in 1989, before compact discs began to dominate the music market in 1990.