Sale Of Vinyl Records Surpass CDs In The US – A First Since The 1980s

The times when people looked at vinyl records as a thing from the past that carried nostalgic memories seem to have gone now.

Fort the first time since the 1980s, the sales of vinyl records has over taken the sale of CDs in the United States so far this year.

In the first half of the year, while the total volume of sale of CDs was about $129.9 million, the comparable sale of vinyl records in the country accounted for $232.1 million of music sales. This was revealed in the data shared in a report published by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Prior to the invention and proliferation of other formats, such as cassette tapes and CDs, which replaced vinyl records, also known as “records pressed on wax,” as the preferred mode of listening to music, records and record players were used extensively and were commonplace.

However the replacement of vinyl records by CDs as the preferred mode of listening to music by people has not prevented the resurgence of the sale of the classic discs or vinyl records. Here has been steady growth in the US in the sale of vinyl records since 2005. Revenue growth from the sale of vinyl records was at 4 per cent in the first half of 2020 compared to a drop of 48 per cent in the revenues from the sale of CDs, showed data from the RIAA.

But despite the growth in revenues in the forts half of the current year, there has been a drop in the physical sale of vinyl records. There as a drop of 23 per cent in the physical sale at $376 million in the first half of the year. This was partly because of the novel coronavirus pandemic which continued to stall music industry norms. The pandemic has led to a complete stop of concerts and visits to music stores.

But there has been a boom in music streaming despite the stunted growth of physical sales.

The RIAA report has revealed that there was a 12 per cent growth in revenues from music streaming business which included the revenue generated from paid streaming, ad-supported streaming and streaming radio. The revenues came in at $4.8 billion for the first six months of 2020.

The report also found that more listeners have been willing to pay to play for streaming services alone. RIAA reported a 24 per cent growth in paid streaming service subscriptions, such as Spotify and Apple Music.

And therefore, by accounting for more than 85 per cent of music industry’s revenue, music streaming services stood out to by the dominating music format during the period.

During the first six months of this year alone, there has been a 5.6 per cent growth in overall music industry sales which was primarily driven by streaming, which came in at $5.7 billion.

(Adapted from

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