Vinyl Records Outsell CDs For The First Time In 34 Years

By Katrina Nattress

September 11, 2020

Vinyl has seen a resurgence in recent years, while CD sales have continued to decline. And according to a recent Record Industry Association of America (RIAA) report, records have finally outsold CDs — for the first time since 1986!

The data shows records accounted for $232.1 million of music sales in the first six months of 2020, while CDs brought in only $129.9 million. While the feat is impressive, overall physical music sales dropped by 23% in the first half of the year (partly due to the pandemic). However, digital sales also saw a decrease in profit, accounting for $351 million — a 22% decline from 2019. Unsurprisingly, streaming continues to reign supreme and has accounted for 85% of total revenue so far this year, with subscriptions up 24% and overall revenue up 14%. In total, music business revenue increased by 5.6%.

“These are historically difficult times: the live music sector is shut down; studio recording is limited, and millions of Americans are out of work across the broader economy,” RIAA chairman and CEO Mitch Glazier said in a statement. “Despite all the challenges from the pandemic, one thing clearly hasn’t changed – fans still love music.”

Photo: Getty Images

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