The Vinyl Revival Continues: Sales Top 42 Million in 2021


Photo: Getty Images

In 2011, the share of physical sales that vinyl records accounted for was less than 2% - a mere 1.7%, with 3.8 million copies sold in that entire year. CD sales had dropped off, but were still the primary physical seller in the music world.

Flash forward to 2021, and the vinyl revolution continues, as records continue to be hotter than ever. For 2021, Vinyl finished the year with more than *half* of all physical album sales, selling nearly 42 million records, more than 9 times the amount sold in 2011. That 1.7% in 2011 was now 50.4% in 2021 in terms of how much vinyls accounted for in the physical music market.

MRC reports in their year-end report for 2021 that vinyl is now "the most popular physical format for the first time ever in the MRC Data/Soundscan era (since 1991)." Hot wax!

To boot, sales in 2021 even increased 50% over 2020's sales, which were fueled by consumers getting into the hobby during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic (like yours truly!)

A big part of the growth has also been thanks to the annual Record Store Day, which usually takes place in April each year (though that changed in 2021). In 2011, vinyl sales the week of that year's Record Store Day totaled 165,000. In 2021, those weekly sales topped 1.28 million (week of June 17, 2021) and 1.14 million (week of July 22, 2021).

So what were the biggest vinyl sellers of 2021? No surprise at the top spot - Adele's massive "30" album topped the year-end chart despite being available for a little over a month. Taylor Swift had a great year, placing 3 albums in the top 10. Meanwhile, you also had popular catalog titles from Prince and the Beatles join the list as well.

Top Vinyl Sellers of 2021

1. Adele, “30”: 318,000

2. Olivia Rodrigo, “Sour”: 268,000

3. Taylor Swift, “Red (Taylor’s Version)”: 260,000

4. Harry Styles, “Fine Line”: 256,000

5. Billie Eilish, “Happier Than Ever”: 252,000

6. Taylor Swift, “Evermore”: 249,000

7. Prince & The Revolution, “Purple Rain”: 207,000

8. Beatles, “Abbey Road”: 201,000

9. Taylor Swift, “folklore”: 195,000

10. Kendrick Lamar, “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City”: 194,000

You can read more from MRC Data's year-end report for 2021 right here.

Photo: Getty

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