Record Store Day 2020 to be spread across three new dates later this year
(Credit: Clem Onojeghuo)

Vinyl records outsell CDs for the first time since the 1980s

In a major turn in the sales of physical music, vinyl records have returned to the top of the pile and, for the first time in 34 years, they have outsold the CD format.

While major streaming platforms continue to dominate the distribution of music, one which has seen revenue of such mediums grow 12% to an astounding $4.8 billion in the first half of 2020, vinyl sales have offered a momentary hope for the future of physical music.

The news comes after The Recording Industry Association of America issued a new study detailing the financial distribution of music sales. According to the report, $232.1million (£181million) of music sales in the first six months of 2020 are attributed to that of vinyl sales. In stark contrast, the medium of CDs only fetched $129.9 million.

The remarkable turnaround and resurgence of vinyl marks the first time since the 1980s that CDs have failed to finish top of the charts in terms of physical music sales.

“Revenues from physical products of $376 million at estimated retail value for first half 2020 were down 23%
year-over-year,” the report reads. “There was a significant impact from music retail and venue shutdown measures around Covid-19, as Q1 2020 declines were significantly less than Q2 compared with their respective periods the year prior. Revenues from vinyl albums increased in Q1, but decreased in Q2, resulting in a net overall increase of 4% for 1H 2020.

“Vinyl album revenues of $232 million were 62% of total physical revenues, marking the first time vinyl exceeded CDs for such a period since the 1980s, though it still only accounted for 4% of total music recorded music revenues.”

Read the full report, here.

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