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(Credit: Clem Onojeghuo)

Music

Vinyl albums outsold CDs for the first time in 30 years during 2021

In 2021, vinyl albums outsold CDs in the US for the first time in 30 years. Per data released by the MRC and Billboard38.3% of all album sales in the country were in vinyl format, accounting for over 50% of all physical album sales. 

This totalled 41.72 million sales out of 82.79 million. The rate of vinyl sales also went up last year, with an enormous 51.4% jump from 27.55m units in 2020. 

Last year, some of the big-hitters included Adele‘s return 30, which was the biggest-selling album in the US last year, Taylor Swift’s Red (Taylor’s Version) and Olivia Rodrigo’s Gen-Z smash, Sour

It was also confirmed that vinyl sales enjoyed their best year for 30 years in the UK in 2021, a tremendous achievement when noting the widespread supply chain troubles stemming from backlogs and delays. 

According to new figures from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), last year was the 14th consecutive year that the format has enjoyed an increase in sales, accounting for 23% of all albums sold. Other huge titles last year included ABBA’s Voyage and Sam Fender’s Seventeen Going Under

A report published in September 2021 showed that Gen Z have a tendency to purchase vinyl more than millennials. A survey conducted by MRC Data interviewed 4,041 people aged 13 and over, over two weeks, about their musical influences, inspirations and purchases. 15% of the Gen Z respondents, those born between 1997 and 2012, claimed to have bought at least one vinyl in the last year. This is compared with just 11% of millennials. 

The new numbers are the highest records have seen since the grunge boom of the early ’90s, a clear indicator that vinyl is here to stay.

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