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Vinyl overtakes CD sales for the first time since 1987

Vinyl overtakes CD sales for the first time since 1987

No longer just a niche hobby for dads and hipsters, vinyl is experiencing a major resurgence in mainstream music. According to the Recording Industry Association of America's (RIAA) annual revenue report, vinyl records overtook CD sales in the US for the first time since 1987, selling 41 million units compared to 33 million for CDs.

Vinyl record sales have grown steadily over the past 16 years, now accounting for 71 percent of all physical music format revenue, according to a RIAA report published Thursday. The growth margin here isn't trivial, either — while physical formats are forecast to grow 4 percent overall to generate $1.7 billion between 2021 and 2022, with vinyl sales alone at $1.2 billion, up from last year's $1.7 billion. is over 1.7 billion. Experiences a 17 percent increase in sales year over year. By comparison, CD sales are projected to decline by 18 percent in 2022.

The RIAA isn't the first to claim that vinyl has overtaken CDs. The Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) reported the same milestone earlier this year, although its figures only refer to UK sales data. Renewed interest in the format has also taken hold outside the UK and US, with similar sales growth in Germany, Japan and South Korea.

There are many factors driving the vinyl revival. Many audiophiles claim that the format provides a warmer, more authentic sound than digital (though some would argue that this is largely subjective). Nostalgia also plays a role for those who lived through the golden age of vinyl, but younger generations are also driving sales by admiring the material and the artistry of the format. Artists from the Gen-Z and millennial demographics will generate a significant number of record sales in 2022. Taylor Swift was the best-selling artist last year, selling nearly 1.7 million vinyl records alone — more than Harry Styles (719,000 sales) and The Beatles (553,000 sales) combined according to Luminet's year-end sales report.

While vinyl has made an impressive comeback, streaming still reigns supreme. The RIAA report found that music streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music will account for 84 percent of total music revenue in 2022, reaching a record high of $13.3 billion, up seven percent from the previous year. However, digital download sales continued to decline. The draft fell 20 percent this year to just $495 million, having already fallen 12 percent in 2021. Music in a protective cardboard sleeve.

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