Vinyl albums are having what feels like an endlessly profitable resurgence after seeing a 108% increase on sales year-over-year over the first six months of 2021. Not only have vinyl sales had quite the comeback, but they have just surpassed CD sales, proving consumers are out with the new and in with the old when it comes to physical music consumption outside of streaming services.
19.2 million vinyl albums were sold as compared to 9.2 million vinyl LPs in the first six months of 2020, showing a steep increase in vinyl LP consumption over the last 12 months. CD album sales hit 18.9 million sales in the first six months of 2021, according to MRC data, leaving unit sales just short of the vinyl numbers. While 2021 is the first half year that vinyl unit sales have surpassed CD sales, 2020 was the first year in 34 years that vinyl revenue outperformed CD revenue. MRC is an analytics firm that specializes in collecting data from the entertainment and music industries.
The top-selling vinyl albums so far in 2021 are Taylor Swift’s Evermore, Harry Styles’ Fine Line, Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid M.A.A.D. City, and the lauded When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? by Billie Eilish. One unintended consequence of this shift in consumer habits is that the industry is struggling to keep up with demand, with particular strain being applied to vinyl pressing plants. If the first half of 2021 is any indication of what is to come throughout the second half of the year, demand will continue to surge with 2021 closing as the highest recorded year for vinyl sales in more than 30 years.
Photo Credit: Emma Boey