Vinyl sales in the US have experienced a significant increase of over 20% in the first half of 2023.
According to Luminate’s mid-year report, 23.6 million LPs were sold in the first six months of the year, surpassing the 19.4 million sold during the same period in 2022. This represents a remarkable growth rate of 21.7%. Furthermore, overall physical album sales have risen by 13.3% this year, with 41.5 million copies sold from January to June 2023, compared to 2022’s 36.7 million.
What’s particularly noteworthy is the impressive performance of direct-to-consumer vinyl sales. These sales, made through artists’ webstores rather than third-party retailers, have seen a remarkable increase of more than 26%. So far, 2.6 million direct-to-consumer vinyl sales have been recorded. The report emphasizes that 1-in-9 vinyl sales are coming from these platforms, outperforming CD and cassette sales. It’s worth noting that direct-to-consumer sales primarily consist of new and current music, unlike other sectors such as streaming.
The leading artists in vinyl sales for new music include Taylor Swift, Lana Del Rey, Tyler, The Creator, and boygenius, along with the timeless classic ‘Rumours’ by Fleetwood Mac.
Luminate’s report also provides additional insights. It reveals that US-based K-pop, Afrobeats, and EDM fans are more likely to spend more on music, tickets, and merchandise compared to the average US music fan. When it comes to physical music sales, Gen Z dominates the vinyl and cassette market, while Gen X leads in CD sales. Moreover, gig tickets remain the most popular music purchase among general music listeners.
However, it’s important to note that the surge in popularity for vinyl has not resulted in widespread success for all record distributors and retailers. Much of Luminate’s data focuses on major label artists and mainstream sales. In fact, independent UK distributor Unearthed Sounds recently announced its closure due to the increasing costs of vinyl production and the environmental impact associated with it.
In an interesting turn of events, a Taylor Swift fan gained viral attention when she discovered that her vinyl copy of ‘Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)’ was mispressed with a compilation of rare ’90s UK electronic music.
For more information on the potential challenges facing the vinyl industry, you can refer to journalist Will Pritchard’s comprehensive feature from 2021.
Overall, the resurgence of vinyl sales in the US demonstrates a significant shift in music consumption preferences, offering unique opportunities for artists and industry stakeholders.