UK sales of vinyl records reach a three-decade high as fans unable to attend live music events during pandemic channel their spare cash into building their record collections.
Vinyl sales are up almost 10 percent in 2020, well on track to break the £100m mark (4.3m units) by the end of the year, making for the best year since 1990 when The Steve Miller Band's The Joker, Madonna's Vogue and Sinead O'Connor's Nothing Compares 2 U were topping the charts.
“We have seen 250% growth from the bottom of lockdown to where we are now,” said Drew Hill, managing director of Proper Music, the UK’s biggest independent distributor of vinyl and CDs. “I thought it could be catastrophic for the industry but during lockdown the kind of people buying records also probably went to a lot of gigs. They can’t do that so it seems fans are spending the money they used to on going to gigs each month on records.”
Last week, Kylie Minogue wound back the years as Disco topped the vinyl album chart which, incidentally, made her the first woman to top the album chart in each of five consecutive decades.
Whilst vinyl sales are surging, the inexorable decline in CD sales continues, with sales down 30% in the year to date, according to the Entertainment Retailers Association. If that trend continues in the final weeks of this year CD sales will reach about £150m, less than half the amount spent 3 years ago. And well below their peak in 2004.
Of course, this does not mean that people have stopped buying music. It's just that the vast majority have elected to stop purchasing physical produce and have switched to streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music.