CD sales increase for the first time since 2004
Dust off those plastic filing cabinets that used to live in the back seat of your car and fire up the boombox, because compact discs are back.
- CD sales saw year-over-year growth for the first time since 2004, according to the Recording Industry Association of America’s annual sales report.
- Combined with the decade-long explosion in vinyl sales, overall physical music sales rose for the first time since 1996.
Why is it important: Streaming is the new engine of the music industry, but physical music is enjoying a resurgence that can no longer be considered a passing fad driven by hardcore collectors.
By the numbers: Physical music sales skyrocketed to $1.65 billion in the United States last year, according to RIAA data.
- CD sales reached $584.2 million nationwide last year, up more than $100 million from 2020. By comparison, vinyl sales in 2021 rose to $1 billion. per year, compared to $643.9 million.
Enlarge: This is particularly good news for local record stores, like Grimey’s on East Trinity Lane. Co-owner Doyle Davis tells Axios that vinyl is still king, but CD sales “have held up.”
- Davis has noticed strong CD sales for new albums, especially when there is a delay in vinyl release, and cited Adia Victoria’s new album last year as an example.
- “I think it’s really about young people discovering that they love hard copies of music in the digital age,” Davis said.
Be smart: The CD was the music industry’s premier format in the 1990s, peaking at $13.2 billion in annual sales in 2000.
- You know what happened next. Napster and illegal streaming sites have given way to paid streaming, which now accounts for $8.6 billion in annual revenue.
- In addition to record stores, artists have enjoyed the rise in sales of vinyl — and now CDs — as it gives them another avenue to sell their music.
What they say : “I just think it’s all great,” Davis said. “It’s a testament to the overall health and comeback of physical media in general.”