Vinyl Records Outsell CDs for the First Time Since 1987

For the first time since 1987, vinyl records have sold more units than CDs in the United States, according to a new report from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

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Revenues from vinyl albums grew 22 percent over CD sales, resulting in $570 million in sales. In 2022, 41 million vinyl units were sold in comparison to the 33 million CDs. Vinyl record sales have consistently increased over the last 16 years, according to the RIAA report, and now account for 71 percent of all physical music format revenue.

“Vinyl sales also remained strong increasing 22 percent, building on the format’s eye-popping growth last year and cementing its role as a fixture of the modern music marketplace,” said Mitch Glazer, chairman and CEO of RIAA, in a statement. “Music lovers clearly can’t get enough of the high-quality sound and tangible connection to artists vinyl delivers and labels have squarely met that demand with a steady stream of exclusives, special reissues, and beautifully crafted packages and discs.”

Although streaming pulled in the most revenue in 2022, with paid subscribers to streaming platforms jumping to 92 million from 84 million in 2021, according to the Luminate Year-End Music Report for 2022, several artists also helped move the stylus that generated a record-breaking year in vinyl units sold.

Taylor Swift’s 10th album, Midnights, sold 945,000 copies, followed by Harry Styles’ Harry’s House at 480,000 units, Olivia Rodrigo’s SOUR (263,000), and Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d city (254,000), along with Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 album, Rumours, which sold 243,000 units, which may have seen an uptick following the death of founding member Christine McVie in November 2022.

Annual Record Store Day (RSD) sales have also contributed to the uptick in sales worldwide. In 2022, weekly vinyl album sales surged 74.8 percent to 1.316 million units in the U.S., alone, with median weekly sales of 710,000.

Physical sales of vinyl were also up with 36.7 percent of albums sold in the U.S., in the week ending June 23, 2022, sold via independent record stores. Overall, 29.9 percent of all albums sold in the U.S. were sold at independent record stores.


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