The cultural renaissance of vinyl records is nothing short of skyrocketing. In 2011, vinyl records accounted for only 1.7% of physical music sales, with CDs making up the rest. In just 10 years, that number rose to 50.4 percent, according to MRC — meaning vinyl has now overtaken CD as the best-selling physical format since 1991.
“In recent years, I’ve noticed that customers prefer to actually own the music, rather than stream it, usually in its best form (vinyl records),” Tobago Benito, owner of record store DBS Sounds, said in MRC’s data roundup.
He attributes this to the presence of record players in movies and TV, but also to the joy people get when they dig for some kind of vinyl in record stores, which may “bring back fond memories,” he said.
Vinyl sales have also grown significantly from a year ago in 2020, when vinyl accounted for 27.5 million physical music sales, or about 40% of total sales. It now only accounts for about half of total sales, which is significant.
“From Metallica giving credit to RSD (and record/record stores) with an RSD release a decade ago, to Taylor Swift putting her most recent vinyl release first, it’s not an afterthought, but an essential part of the release part,” Carmelo, director of brand engagement at Newbury Comics, said in a statement.
One of the reasons for the surge in sales was the release of Adele’s “30” and Taylor Swift’s “Red (Taylor Edition).”
The Target CD version “30,” which includes three additional tracks, helped the CD version of the album sell 378,000 copies in its first week, the biggest CD sales week of 2021, MRC said. Just a week ago, Red (Taylor Edition) sold 146,700 copies.
It’s unclear if this paltry increase means CDs are on the way, but it could herald a slight shift for those still holding on to the medium.
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