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Vinyl once again outselling CDs! WTF?

Track record

Almost a century after the first long-playing record was pressed, it seems that vinyl is still spinnin’.

A new report from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) yesterday revealed that people in the US bought a collective 43 million vinyl records last year — some 6 million more units than the number of CDs sold, marking the second year running that the vintage format has won out.

While streaming remains king, making up ~84% of US recorded music revenues, vinyl sales still raked in an estimated $1.4bn, compared with just $537m for less pricey CD formats.

Turning tables

With sales peaking in the late 1970s, before it was dethroned by CDs/cassettes in the 80s and throughout the 90s and 00s, vinyl’s popularity has seen a resurgence over the past decade, in no small part because of its modern day consumer advantage over other mediums: the “cool factor”.

But, hipsters aside, the recent uptick can also be attributed to vinyl records breaking into the mainstream, with Kendrick Lamar, Harry Styles, and Lana Del Rey all releasing their latest albums on wax — as well as megastar Taylor Swift, whose album 1989 (Taylor's Version) was the best-selling vinyl LP of 2023, making up 7% of all US vinyl album sales last year.

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