2022 Set to Be the Year Vinyl (Finally) Becomes Physical Format of Choice

This year is set to be the year vinyl finally becomes the physical format of choice, overtaking CD sales, new figures have released.

Colourful vinyl covers

It’s been said before, but we’ll say it again – especially when new figures have been announced – but this year is set to be the year vinyl finally becomes the physical format of choice, overtaking CD sales.

Vinyl covers side-on

New figures from the Entertainment Retailers’ Association (ERA) show that vinyl sales accrued £135.6 million last year, whilst CD sales amounted to £150.1 million. Though CDs still brought in more overall cash, this was actually down 3.9% on the previous year. Vinyl sales, meanwhile, had a 23.2% year-on-year increase, in the 14th consecutive year of a growth in sales.

Based on that trajectory, 2022 will see vinyl become the dominant physical format in pure sales. CD still remains well ahead in terms of unit sales with 14.4million of them having been sold last year, whilst 5.3million vinyl records were sold.

But, of course, those larger, black circular discs of polyvinyl chloride will often set you back a lot more so their value to the industry is worth more per record that’s sold.

The increasingly strong showing for vinyl was helped last year by the sale of ABBA’s Voyage album – the Swedish pop group’s first full-length release in nearly 40 years. That became the fastest-selling vinyl release of the century, selling 29,900 vinyl records in its opening week.

Man sorting through vinyl records

As with any music success story of late, Adele plays a part. Her chart-topping 30 was the second-best seller last year, selling 37,000 copies on vinyl. According to the Official Charts Company, the top ten sellers last year were as follows:

  1. ABBA – Voyage
  2. Adele – 30
  3. Fleetwood Mac – Rumours
  4. Ed Sheeran – =
  5. Amy Winehouse – Back to Black
  6. Nirvana – Nevermind
  7. Queen – Greatest Hits
  8. Lana Del Rey – Chemtrails Over the Club
  9. Wolf Alice – Blue Weekend
  10. Harry Styles – Fine Line

These successes came despite major supply issues affecting vinyl stock, caused by a number of issues. Irregular freezing temperatures in Texas, which is a large producer of polyvinyl chloride, led to a worldwide shortage of PVC; the Apollo/Transco plant in Banning, California, was destroyed by a fire.

Big sales so far this year includes Yard Act, The Wombats and David Bowie (the best-selling vinyl artist of the century).

Villagers Fever Dream album cover

Villagers’ Fever Dream won the best art vinyl of 2021.

And whilst sales are one thing, design is quite another accolade. The winner of the best vinyl art of the year for 2021 was awarded to Villagers’ Fever Dreams. That was designed by Matthew Cooper and assisted by Paul J Street.

2022 will no doubt yield more sales for the vinyl format – and some quality new album sleeves too.

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