It would appear as though 2022 is clearly set to be a year of surprises. CD sales have increased for the first time in 17 years, per a report in Billboard. The end of year statistics provided by MRC Data have shown that CD sales hit 40.59 million units in 2021, a 1.1% rise from 40.16 million units in 2020.
The rise in sales is being attributed to a host of monumental releases last year from Adele and Taylor Swift. Adele’s album 30 came as something of a surprise and was the top-selling compact disc in the US, shipping 898,000. Unsurprisingly, Swift occupied the second and third position with her re-recorded versions of Fearless and Red selling over 200,000 units each.
The top ten CD sales also include Swift’s Evermore, BTS’ Map of the Soul: 7 and Be and Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour, amongst others. 2021 was the first year that CD sales increased since 2004 when revenue from the format was much higher than it is in today’s industry.
Interestingly, in December, vinyl also enjoyed its biggest week of sales since 1991, with 2.11 million albums sold. It may come as little surprise to hear that 30 was also the best-selling vinyl of the year.
I don’t think anybody ever thought that CD would make a comeback. It’s been nearly 20 years since the decline of the compact disc began. The high price of vinyl has also been credited with helping the return of the flimsy plastic discs.
Best selling CD’s in the US in 2021:
- Adele – 30 (898,000)
- Taylor Swift – Fearless (Taylor’s Version) (263,000)
- Taylor Swift – Red (Taylor’s Version) (237,000)
- Carrie Underwood – My Savior (217,000)
- TOMORROW X TOGETHER – The Chaos Chapter: Freeze (215,000)
- Taylor Swift – Evermore (213,000)
- NCT 127 – Sticker: The 3rd Album (211,000)
- BTS – Map of the Soul: 7 (210,000)
- Olivia Rodrigo – Sour (195,000)
- BTS – Be (187,00)