Vinyl outsells CDs in US for first time since 1987

today14/03/2023 13

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Vinyl outsold CD in the USA in 2022 for the first time since 1987, according to a new report by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Over 41 million vinyl records were sold compared to 33 million CDs, with the value of vinyl sold ($1.2 billion) being worth more than double that of CD ($483 million), accounting for around 71% of revenues for physical music formats.

It was the 16th consecutive year of record sale growth, and seventh consecutive year for an increase in recorded music revenue.

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Physical music revenues were driven by the increase in sales of vinyl, with revenue from CDs falling 18% compared to 2021.

Streaming revenues – defined by revenues from paid subscriptions, ad-supported services and other formats – were up by 7%, rising to $13.3 billion. Streaming accounted for a large majority of US music revenue in 2022, roughly 84% of total revenue, with paid subscriptions reaching an all-time high at 92 million subscribers.

Total music industry revenues grew 6% to an estimated $15.9 billion.

The story was similar in the UK, with figures released earlier this year finding that vinyl outstripped CD sales for the first time in 35 years.

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Despite the overall growth of recorded music sales, the wealth was not exactly shared equally. Data from earlier this year found that one in every 25 vinyl albums sold in 2022 was a Taylor Swift LP.

She sold nearly 1.7 million records across her entire discography, more than the next two artists – Harry Styles and The Beatles – combined.

The growth in demand for vinyl has come in the face of the industry struggling to keep up with an estimated $1 billion demand for records. There has been a shortage of pressing plants available, with the majority of capacity being taken up being demand from major labels with their larger orders, leaving little room and higher prices for independent labels.

For more on the vinyl industry’s struggles, read Mixmag’s 2021 investigation.

Written by: Tim Hopkins

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