For the past 15 years, vinyl record sales have seen consecutive growth, despite the continued uptick of digital consumption in the U.S. and drop in sales and backup in production due to the pandemic. In the first half of 2021—Jan. 1 through July 1—U.S. vinyl sales have seen a significant comeback, according to MRC Data, with the number of vinyl LPs sold increasing by 108.2 percent within the first six months, up from the same period in 2020. Overall, global song streams have also jumped 27.5 percent within the first half of 2021.
In 2020, vinyl was still on the rise with 27.5 million LPs sold in the U.S. up 46 percent compared to 2019. Once the pandemic hit, sales initially dropped by 6.7 percent in March of 2020, compared to the same period in 2019, and subsequently fell throughout the year, landing on a decrease of 20.3 percent in physical album sales as well as a 14.3 percent drop in digital album sales, within the first half of the year, alone, according to the report.
Overall, consumption has grown 13.5 percent year over year within the first half of 2021, helped by a 15 percent lift in on-demand audio streaming with Olivia Rodrigo’s “Driver’s License” and Morgan Wallen’s Dangerous: The Double Album, listed by MRC Data as the most streamed song (by on-demand streams) and most popular album, respectively, by the mid-year of 2021.
Some of the top selling vinyl album sales by the mid-year of 2021, including Taylor Swift’s Evermore, Billie Eilish’s When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, Harry Styles’ Fine Line, and Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid M.A.A.D. City.
The report also revealed how NFTs (nonfungible tokens) have become a significant revenue stream for artists beyond traditional music sales, streaming and ticket sales. As of April 2021, artists have pulled in nearly $70.5 million from NFT sales of their music and artwork, according to data pulled by Water & Music.