US Vinyl Sales Up 21.7% for First Half of 2023, Report Finds

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Vinyl sales in the US are up 21.7% for the first half of 2023 over the same period last year, according to a new music industry report.

The vinyl resurgence is itself not new – 2022 marked the 17th consecutive year that sales of vinyl records rose, according to Luminate’s music midyear report. But the growth rate this year has reassured experts that the vinyl market did not hit a natural plateau after surging during the pandemic, which caused a 108% increase in 2021.

The data company’s findings, released on Wednesday and first reported by Variety, also includes figures on Americans’ consumption of non-English language music (40% of US listeners have non-English music in their diet), as well as charts of the best-selling and streaming albums of the year so far.

The company found that other formats beyond vinyls, including compact discs, did not see a decline in sales from the previous year. But nothing is even close to the numbers from streaming, which doesn’t seem to have a growth ceiling in sight. On-demand audio and video streaming numbers were up 15% in the US, and double internationally at 30.8%.

The international market with the most streaming growth was Asia, with a 107% increase in audio and video streams over the same period last year. Latin America was up 70%, while Europe was up 57%.

Taylor Swift’s Midnights, which was released last October, is the best-selling vinyl LP of year so far, with 251,000 copies sold in 2023. She leads a top 10 list including Lana Del Rey, supergroup Boygenius and Melanie Martinez as well as record-store staples Fleetwood Mac (Rumours has sold 103,000 copies this year) and Michael Jackson. The top 10 best-selling CDs were all K-pop groups with the exception of Midnights, which landed at No 6 with 176,000 units sold.

Swift topped the list for pure album sales, with 607,000 copies sold in the past six months. But the biggest album and single this year on the Billboard year-to-date charts, which factors in streaming numbers, belongs to country artist Morgan Wallen, for his 36-song album One Thing At a time and blockbuster single Last Night.

Luminate found that direct-to-consumer sales were up more than vinyl alone – 26% to 21.7% – demonstrating an audience of devoted fans willing to buy music direct from artists’ websites. Traditional physical album sales as a whole, including vinyl, CD and cassettes, were up 13.3%. CDs alone, long dismissed as dead, were up 3.8% over this time last year. Overall album sales trended up by 7.9%, with the surge in vinyl purchases counterbalanced by the slow returns of paid digital downloads.

There was a daunting 112,000 new tracks released a day so far this year, up from 93,400 per day over the same period last year. The vast majority of these are independent releases, with only 3.3% of total track releases coming from major distributors.

“The story of music in the first half of 2023 is defined by more empowered super fans with a growing hunger to support their favorite artists, more engagement with non-English music in the US, and more content being uploaded on a daily basis, which creates more opportunities and challenges,” said Luminate’s chief executive, Rob Jonas, in a summary to Variety.

“The key word here is ‘more’, which leads to the need for a more focused and insights-fueled understanding of worldwide music listener habits.”

Source: The Guardian