UK vinyl sales set to overtake CDs in 2022

Vinyl sales in the UK are expected to overtake CDs this year.

That’s according to figures collected by the Entertainment Retailers’ Association (ERA) – based on unit sales provided by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) – which show that 2021 sales indicate that the value of vinyl will become more higher than that of CDs this year.

music week reports that while BPI’s 2021 unit sales data showed that CDs remained ahead of vinyl, the latter is on track to become the dominant physical format in terms of revenue.

Vinyl albums brought in £135.6m in 2021 (up 23.2% YoY) compared to £150.1m CD sales (down 3.9% YoY) ). On this current growth trajectory, vinyl will be leading by the end of this year.

Vinyl for sale in a record store (Picture: Getty)

In terms of unit sales, 14.4 million CDs were sold in the UK last year (down 10.5% year-on-year) compared to 5.3 million vinyl records (up 10.6 %).

Sony Music UK vice president of market planning and sales, Charles Wood, said music week that he thinks vinyl will become the biggest physical contributor to labels in terms of revenue over the next 12 months.

“Following a surge of interest in vinyl sales during Covid, we’ve seen vinyl being bought by a wider audience, beyond your music fanatics and niche format obsessives who have driven the” vinyl revival,” Wood said.

“We have seen continued growth in vinyl sales in 2021, which now represent 27% of the physical market by volume. When you factor in a significantly higher price for vinyl, we’ll soon see vinyl become the biggest physical format on the market in terms of revenue.

The CD format, however, seems to have a promising future, as NME columnist Mark Beaumont celebrated recently. The 10.5% year-over-year decline in unit sales was not as steep as in previous years, while revenue fell 3.9% due to sales of higher value box sets .

The news follows the revelation that vinyl sales in 2021 were at their highest level in 30 years despite supply issues during the COVID pandemic. 23% of all albums purchased last year were in the format, with ABBA’s “Voyage” being the top-selling.

Credit: Getty

Over five million vinyl records have been sold, an 8% increase from 2020. It is also the 14th consecutive year that the format has increased sales.

Issues such as supply chains and increased consumer demand have, among other things, contributed to vinyl delays.

Chris Marksberry (MD of global vinyl manufacturing broker Sound Performance) said NME that consumer thirst for music on wax is a significant, though welcome, stumbling block.

“Vinyl was growing as a format in general, year by year,” Marksberry explained. “Everything was manageable and the factories were able to meet the demand. The delays were always longer than with CDs, but it was a relatively normal affair for everyone. Then, around the start of the pandemic, people locked down and couldn’t go to concerts or spend their money on anything else, so they started buying vinyl online.

“It was in February of this year that we suddenly saw exponential demand for vinyl orders. It went from 10% to 100% in the space of four to six weeks and it just kept growing. places that ordered 2,000 last year ordered 8,000 this year.

“Then the delivery times to the factories started to increase – they went from four weeks to six weeks to eight weeks to 16 weeks. Really, the demand exploded in a very short time. »

Adele’s ’30’ and Sam Fender’s ‘Seventeen Going Under’ – NME’s album of the year – were among the biggest vinyl sellers last year.

Campaigns such as LoveRecordStores, Record Store Day and National Album Day also helped rally sales from independent record stores and specialty chains.

Jack L. Goldstein