Vinyl sales for 2022
For the first year since CDs overtook the market, vinyl sales have now generated more revenue than CDs in the U.K. So vinyl hasn’t actually sold more units (which a previous version of this post could indicate), but it has the bigger market share, in money – as it’s a more expensive product. The actual figures, according to the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) are 11.6 million CDs sold, generating £124 millions and 5.5 million vinyl LPs, combing in £150.5 millions. The notion that more vinyl albums than CD albums were sold, derives from a press release which the UK’s Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) sent out, which omitted the information about just how many units each format sold. This confused not only us, but also a number of mainstream media, like BBC radio news, the New Musical Express and Music Week.
In the U.S.A., vinyl albums accounted for 43 percent of physical album sales last year, according to Billboard.
So how did the Beatles fare? Well, at least in the U.S.A. they are still in the top 10, but just barely. And it’s not the release of the year, “Revolver” in new stereo mix, it’s the old mainstay “Abbey Road” which manages to be at the very bottom of Top 10.
In the U.K. “Revolver” is the biggest selling Beatles album of the year on vinyl, but it only made the top 20, at 18.
USA: (sales figures)
1. Taylor Swift: Midnights (945,000)
2. Harry Styles: Harry’s House (480,000)
3. Olivia Rodrigo: Sour (263,000)
4. Kendrick Lamar: good kid, m.A.A.d city (254,000)
5. Fleetwood Mac: Rumours (243,000)
6. Tyler, the Creator: Call Me If You Get Lost (211,000)
7. Taylor Swift: Folklore (174,000)
8. Tyler, the Creator: Igor (172,000)
9. Michael Jackson: Thriller (168,000)
10. The Beatles: Abbey Road (160,000)
Curiously, only 50 percent of the U.S. vinyl album buyers actually own the equipment to play them. So they are probably framing albums, decorating their house. Actually, a study conducted in November 2022 showed that the top 3 reasons people bought vinyl records were:
1. I like physically owning my music.
2. I like having the physical records to look at.
3. I want to support my favourite artists by buying the physical album.
So in that respect, it’s almost like a t-shirt with a print of your favourite band.
1. Taylor Swift: Midnights
2. Harry Styles: Harry’s House
3. Arctic Monkeys: The Car
4. Liam Gallagher: C’mon You Know
5. Wet Leg: Wet Leg
6. Muse: Will of the People
7. Fleetwood Mac: Rumours
8. Fontaines DC: Skinty Fia
9. The 1975: Being Funny in a Foreign Language
10. Arctic Monkeys: AM
11. Pink Floyd: The Dark Side Of The Moon
12. Amy Winehouse: Back To Black
13. Nirvana: Nevermind
14. David Bowie: The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust
15. George Michael: Older
16. Paolo Nutini: Last Night In The Bittersweet
17. Yard Act:The Overload
18. Beatles: Revolver
19. Sam Fender: Seventeen Going Under
20. Arctic Monkeys: Whatever People Say I Am That’s What I’m
21. Queen: Greatest Hits
22. Foals: Life Is Yours
23. Louis Tomlinson: Faith In The Future
24. George Ezra: Gold Rush Kid
25. Harry Styles: Fine Line
26. Smile: A Light For Attracting Attention
27. Bob Marley & The Wailers: Legend
28. Oasis: What’s The Story Morning Glory
29. Lana Del Rey: Born To Die
30. Taylor Swift: Folklore
31. Black Country New Road: Ants From Up There
32. Red Hot Chili Peppers: Unlimited Love
33. Fleetwood Mac: Greatest Hits
34. Radiohead: Ok Computer
35. Florence & The Machine: Dance Fever
36. Tears For Fears: The Tipping Point
37. Olivia Rodrigo: Sour
38. Bruce Springsteen: Only The Strong Survive
39. Arctic Monkeys: Favourite Worst Nightmare
40. Original Soundtrack: Guardians Of The Galaxy – Awesome Mix 1
No, Roger – this is incorrect; vinyl merely generated more revenue in the UK than CDs in 2022; it did not achieve higher unit sales!
Official British Phonographic Industry (BPI) figures show that 11.6m CDs were sold in the UK last year, but only 5.5m vinyl records. The music industry likes to conflate actual unit sales with revenues to promote the idea that vinyl is more popular than it actually is, no doubt to encourage sales of the (much) more expensive format…funny, that.
Worth noting that UK vinyl sales only increased from 5.3m to 5.5m last year, so growth is slowing dramatically. Current vinyl sales levels are now comparable to 1990, by which time vinyl was dying fast. CD sales are dropping, but may never be overtaken by vinyl.
Please could you correct your (unintentionally) misleading headline?
Done – and thanks for the explanation!
Thanks, Roger – beautifully put!