Driven by Adele, vinyl and CD sales both went up in 2021, data says

Both CDs and vinyl saw high sales in 2021, according to MRC Data’s annual year-end music data report, released this week.

The emergence of vinyl in culture was nothing short of a skyrocketing height. In 2011, vinyl made up only 1.7% of physical sales of music, with CDs making up the rest. In just 10 years, that number has risen to 50.4% — meaning vinyl has now overtaken CDs as the best-selling physical form for the first time since 1991, the MRC reports.

“In recent years, I’ve noticed that customers prefer having the music virtually, other than streaming, usually at its best (vinyl),” Tobago Benito, owner of record store DBS Sounds, said in a news report on MRC Data.

He attributes this to the inclusion of record players in movies and television, but also to the joy people get from digging up a particular vinyl in a record store, which might “bring back great memories,” he said.

The rise in vinyl sales is a big jump compared to just one year ago, in 2020, when vinyl sales accounted for 27.5 million physical music sales, about 40% of all sales. Making up nearly half of all sales now is significant.

Part of this year’s success may be the release of “30,” Adele’s first album in six years. On vinyl, “30” sold 108,000 copies in its first week, the second-biggest week of vinyl sales since 1991, when MRC Data began tracking such sales. The album was the best-selling album on vinyl this year, followed by re-releases of “Sour” by Olivia Rodrigo and “Red” by Taylor Swift.
The MRC reports that part of it has to do with the success of Record Store Day, a popular promotion that takes place in the spring. MRC said sales of new releases and re-releases have grown on Record Store Day since 2011, driven by the admission of popular artists.

“From Metallica’s credibility to RSD (and, by extension, record stores/records) via the release of RSD a decade ago, to Taylor Swift, releasing vinyl versions of her latest releases, not as an afterthought, but as an important part of its launch,” said Carl Mello, label sharing director. commercial at Newbury Comics, in a statement.

But the surprise that came last year was the slight increase in CD sales in the US, which rose 1.1% – from 40.2 million sales in 2020 to 40.6 million in 2021. CD sales have been steadily declining for years, so the fact that it Did not actively decline in the past year can be significant.

One of the reasons for the rise in sales was the release of Adele’s “30” and “Red (Taylor’s version)” by Taylor Swift.

MRC said the targeted CD release of “30,” which contained three additional tracks, helped the album’s CD release sell 378,000 copies in its first week — the biggest CD sales week of 2021. Just a week earlier, “Red ( Taylor version)” 146.700 copies.

It’s not clear if that tiny spike means CDs are about to pop, but it could signal a slight turnaround for those still holding on to the average.


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