Sun. Apr 11th, 2021

2020 could have been a depressing yr because of the pandemic – nevertheless it was additionally a unprecedented yr for vinyl.


In america, the format outsold CD albums on a financial foundation in 2020, in response to new knowledge from business physique the RIAA. It was the primary time that vinyl trumped CD’s annual revenues within the US for 34 years.

Vinyl LPs and EPs generated $619.6 million in retail spending within the yr, in response to the RIAA’s new year-end report.

That was $136 million greater than the entire quantity spend by US music followers on CD albums ($483.3 million) in the identical 12 months.

Clearly, the pandemic-enforced closure/limitation of bodily retail shops would have probably had an affect on CD gross sales in america in 2020.

That mentioned, when MBW lined the RIAA’s year-end numbers for 2019 on the high of final yr, we wrote: “Brace yourselves for an historic yr for bodily music in 2020…if vinyl’s retail haul grows by the identical margin [in 2020 as it did in 2019] and CD falls by the identical margin, vinyl will probably be a extra profitable format than CD in america in 2020.”

And that, in essence, is exactly what occurred.

CD gross sales fell by 23.4% in 2020, in response to the RIAA knowledge, down $147.4 million YoY. In the meantime, vinyl gross sales grew by 29.2% YoY – up $140.1 million on 2019 – to eclipse the CD’s annual gross sales haul.

It was the primary time since 1986 that vinyl outsold CD on an annual foundation, says the RIAA. (In 1986, in response to the RIAA’s retrospective gross sales database, the CD format generated $930.1 million, with vinyl pulling in $983.0 million. The cassette was the yr’s largest format, with some $2.5 billion in gross sales.)

CDs have been extra fashionable than vinyl by way of items bought in 2020, nonetheless: RIAA knowledge reveals that 31.6 million CD albums have been bought within the yr, with 22.9 million vinyl LP/EPs being snapped up.

RIAA numbers from its 2020 year-end report

Surprisingly, largely because of the rise in vinyl gross sales plus an increase in bodily music video purchases, total bodily music revenues in america barely declined in 2020, regardless of the coronavirus lockdowns throughout the nation.

The RIAA‘s report reveals that regardless of that 23.4% fall in CDs, complete US bodily music gross sales in 2020 declined by simply 0.5%, to $1.139 billion.

Bodily music claimed 9% of total revenues within the yr.

The largest contributor to file business revenues was, after all, streaming, which generated $10.1 billion – price 83% of the US business’s complete retail revenues.

The US file business generated $12.2bn throughout all codecs in 2020, says the RIAA, up 9.2% year-on-year.

The largest-selling vinyl album within the US final yr, in response to MRC Information, was Effective Line by Harry Types (232,000 vinyl gross sales), adopted by When We All Fall Sleep The place Do We Go? by Billie Eilish (196,000 vinyl gross sales), and Queen’s Biggest Hits (176,000 vinyl gross sales).Music Enterprise Worldwide

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