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Vinyl record sales have reached a peak unseen in at least 30 years

Adele 30 album cover

We have witnessed a steady resurgence of demand for vinyl records in the modern era, and that comeback reached a peak this week. Despite the ongoing issue of backlogs and delays, Billboard reports that Americans bought 2.11 million copies of vinyl records in the week ending on Dec. 23. That makes it biggest sales week for vinyls since MRC Data began tracking music sales in 1991. The previous record was set a year ago in the week ending on Dec. 24 with 1.84 million copies sold.

The biggest record of the year was Adele's 30, which also led sales in the record-breaking week with 59,000 copies sold. Other big sellers were Billie Eilish's Happier Than Ever, selling 73,000 vinyl copies in its first week, and Taylor Swift's Red (Taylor's Version), selling a record-breaking 114,000 vinyls in the first week.

NME reported that the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) reported more than 5 million vinyl records sold this year. Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the BPI, Brit Awards, & Mercury Prize said, “It’s a great time to be a music fan, with wider choice on offer than ever before supported by great value."

He credited "record label investment into new music and talent" as to why "fans can purchase and collect the music they most love on vinyl, CD and even cassette, whilst also enjoying access to over 70 million songs to stream instantly whenever and how often they want, in turn enabling a new generation of artists to create music and sustain successful careers in a global market.”


Otis is the late morning host on WFPK. Email Otis at ojunior@lpm.org

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