Vinyl outsells CD for first time in 35 years

Vinyl album sales grew to £150.5million in 2022, as CD album sales fell to £124million

Vinyl has outsold CD for first time in 35 years, according to figures released by the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA).

Overall music sales increased by three per cent in 2022 to almost £2billion, which is the highest figure since 2003 and nearly double the level of their low point in 2013.

According to the published figures, physical sales did fall slightly by 3.8 per cent to £280.4million, but levelled out as the vinyl format showed sustained growth while CD declined.

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Vinyl album sales grew 11 per cent to £150.5million, while CD album sales, in contrast, fell 17.4 per cent to £124million – the first time vinyl outsold CD by value since 1987.

As Music Week notes, the preliminary figures differ to the BPI’s own market figures, as they monitor the retail sales revenue tracked by the Official Charts Company rather than units.

“We are approaching a watershed,” ERA CEO Kim Bayley said in a statement. “Thanks to the investment and ingenuity of streaming services on the one hand and to the physical retailers who have driven the vinyl revival on the other, music is within sight of exceeding £2bn in retail sales value for the first time in more than two decades.

“Music has to be great to win people’s attention, but it’s the buying and consumption experience which ultimately persuades people to put their hands in their pockets.”

Harry Styles‘ ‘Harry’s House‘ was the year’s biggest-selling album and spawned the biggest selling/streaming single in ‘As It Was’.

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Other big releases for physical album sales included Taylor Swift’sMidnights‘ and Arctic Monkeys’The Car‘.

“Taylor Swift and Arctic Monkeys were always going to be huge at retail, but it’s fair to say few expected them to be quite so big,” Bayley told Music Week. “It’s a reminder that, in physical at least, great records can change everything.”

Vinyl sales
Vinyl. CREDIT: Alex Segre / Alamy Stock Photo

Back in February 2022, it was reported that UK vinyl sales looked set to overtake CDs in 2022.

Last month, it was then reported that Swift’s ‘Midnights’ was the first album to sell better on vinyl than CD since the 1980s. Upon its release, ‘Midnights’ was issued in five colour-coded CD and vinyl editions.

The US also saw its biggest week for vinyl since 1991 at the end of last year, selling 2.2million vinyl albums in the week ending December 22.

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