Vinyl Sales Reach Their Highest Level Since 1988

by Charlotte Hassan

Vinyl Sales Reach Their Highest Level Since 1988

Nobody knows how high this will go…

For a moment, we thought that vinyl sales were slowing down due to exclusive preliminary data shared by Nielsen Music in April of this year.  The data showed that in 2015, vinyl sales increased 30% on the previous year, where Q1 of 2016 showed a smaller increase of 10%.

But that figure obtained by DMN was just a measurement of the top-selling stuff, and not the broader pile (including sales outside the US).  Accordingly, new information now shows that vinyl sales are not slowing down at all — in fact, sales are rising at an unprecedented rate and are actually at the highest level since the 80s.

UK sales alone are expected to surpass the three million milestone in 2016 for the first time in 28 years.  ”Sales of vinyl have increased dramatically since their low point in 2007, with over 2 million LPs purchased last year for the first time in two decades,” said Gennaro Castaldo, Director of Communications at industry group BPI.  “The BPI has every expectation that this trend will continue, and estimates that up to 3.5 million LPs or more could be purchased during the course of 2016.”

Vinyl revenue now surpasses YouTube revenue in both UK and US…

In the UK, vinyl revenues have surged so much that the revenue derived from this format is surpassing that of ad-supported free streaming platforms, including YouTube and free Spotify.  Last month, the BPI released some interesting stats which showed that in 2015, YouTube and other free platforms contributed £24.4 million ($35.3 million) to the UK music industry, though vinyl sales topped that mark by earning £25.1 million ($36.3 million) within the same year.

A parallel picture is happening in the US.  Last year, vinyl revenue was higher than that of YouTube and VEVO music videos, free Spotify, SoundCloud, and every other free streaming music service combined, according to US-based revenue data released by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

In the US, vinyl sales have been surging since 2007.  In that year, the US witnessed 1 million units sold, a figure that leapt drastically to 11.9 million sold in 2015.

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Yoel Molina Law

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