LP sales surpass CD

Vinyl sales account for 71 per cent of physical music media revenue. Downloads are extinct.

Published 2023-03-17 - 8:51 am

Rumours of the death of the LP were exaggerated. Not only are the black vinyl discs still alive. Sales of analogue records, which have been growing steadily for a number of years, have now overtaken CD sales. And by a solid margin, BBC writes.

A new report from the RIAA, the US record industry organisation, says that in 2022, 41 million vinyl records were sold in the US market, worth USD 1.2 billion, while CD sales were only 33 million copies, totalling USD 483 million.

This is the 16th consecutive year of growth in vinyl record sales, but the first time in decades that LPs have outsold CDs. Vinyl record sales now account for 71 per cent of physical music sales. This is not just about the success of LPs, but about the decline of CDs. CD sales fell by a whopping 28.4 per cent compared to 2021, which was not a great year for the CD medium either.

Streaming totally dominates

While this is good news for vinyl enthusiasts and analogue lovers, it hardly makes the CEOs of Spotify and Tidal fear for their future. After all, streaming revenue is still more than ten times the size of vinyl revenue.

In fact, streaming revenue grew by seven per cent to 13.3 billion. And since the cost of each song played on a streaming service is dramatically lower than on vinyl and CD, the vinyl medium still represents a negligible share of music listening overall.

Also check out The best of both worlds

CD streamers are the perfect way to combine your CD collection with streaming.

Downloading has been wiped out

If there is one form of music listening that is clearly losing out, it’s digital downloads. Only three per cent of revenue in 2022 went to downloaded music. This was a drop of 20 per cent compared to the previous year. In 2012, before the advent of streaming services, digital downloads accounted for a whopping 43% of total music sales.

Let’s have a minute’s silence for the download – while we put on a record.


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