Becky and I love our vinyl record collection. And we’re not alone. 2015 sales of $416 million were the highest since 1988. Stay tuned for 2016’s numbers. Below Josh Friedlander and Cara Duckworth of the Recording Industry Association of America explain the phenomenon of accelerating vinyl sales.
Now that our 2015 sales numbers are out, there is one category that continues to befuddle even the most astute industry observers: vinyl (in a good way, of course). So if you’re one of these observers or a casual music fan doing some research on this waxy format (or both), we thought we’d offer up a few of our own observations about vinyl to help inform the numbers.
First off, to be sure, vinyl remains a niche, but it’s not insignificant. It continues to be a major bright spot for the industry. Revenues from vinyl albums were $416 million in 2015 – the last year they were that high was 1988! Think tube socks, Nintendo game systems, ‘Coming to America’, George Michael, Tiffany, and so many other priceless gems.
Another interesting factoid? For the second year in a row, vinyl revenues are higher than the revenues the industry receives from the billions of streams on ad-supported, on-demand services like YouTube, free Spotify, and others.
Our CEO has offered up some reasons behind this trend here, but let’s keep our focus on vinyl. Vinyl albums were just 6% of the overall retail music market (by value) in 2015. Small, but not insignificant. And as a percentage of physical revenues, that number shoots to 21%.
Looking at the top-selling vinyl albums in 2015, it’s clear that vinyl sales come in all flavors, from classic rock to the newest pop hits. The best-sellers included pop sensations like Adele and Taylor Swift to classics like Pink Floyd, The Beatles, and Miles Davis, and even alternative crooners like Sufjan Stevens and the group Arctic Monkeys. This wide variety of genres speaks to the diversity of vinyl buyers and helped fuel the strong sales numbers we see today.
Read more here.