Another year marks another high note hit by vinyl album sales.
Vinyl sales in the United States increased from 21.5 million units in 2020 to 41.7 million units last year, according to a 2021 report by MRC Data-Billboard, a consumer media company formerly known as Nielsen-SoundScan.
Last year, vinyl albums – once seen as a niche format neglected by streaming services and digital downloads – accounted for more than half of all physical music sales in the United States for the first time since MRC -SoundScan began tracking data in 1991. Vinyl moved enough units last year to exceed 2020 total sales by the end of September, weeks before Adele released her album, according to the report. “30” tops the charts and vacation shopping takes center stage.
To summarize the increase from year to year in one week: End of December 2021, vinyl hit a weekly high in the MRC-SoundScan era with the organization reporting 2.11 million units sold. This week eclipses a total of seven days that previously peaked at the end of December 2020 at 1.842 million.
Yet at the risk of sounding like a beaten record, the boom in vinyl album sales is nothing new. About a decade ago, vinyl records started to soar largely due to their popularity with retailers and independent artists. Now, amid a tsunami of popularity that has created growing difficulties for the format, music fans can find major labels and retail chains selling 12-inch records at a rate never seen in the past. this century.
Unlike in years past, when repressed albums by The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac and other mainstream artists largely dominated year-end vinyl sales, MRC reports that modern artists dominated in 2021. Adele “30” , Olivia Rodrigo and Taylor Swift’s “Sour” “Red (Taylor’s Version)” topped vinyl sales for the year, according to MRC.
But, heading into 2022, the aforementioned growing pains persist.
Booming demand coupled with supply chain issues and increased competition for storage space can create a juggling game for labels who believe vinyl is an essential product with every release. Production delays can stretch from months to a year, forcing custodians to weigh which new music takes precedence over vinyl and who can cope with a first digital launch.
How much pressure can there be to spin the wax discs on the turntables? By November 2021, pressing factories around the world could produce around 180 million albums per year, according to Making Vinyl, an annual record-making conference; however, demand reaches around 360 million albums, doubling production capacity.
Learn more about the obstacles encountered by vinyl music. in this late 2021 Tennessee report.