Vinyl Just Had Its Best Sales Week Since Nielson Started Tracking Sales

2021-12-31

Image of vinyl records.

Story by Charles Ken, photo by Anne Erickson

The holiday season pushed vinyl sales to achieve their best sales week since 1991

Vinyl sales have been increasing the past few years, propelled but a nostalgia for the old-fashioned music format and incentives, such as Record Store Day, which features exclusive vinyl deals available at locally owned shops. Now, the format has experienced its biggest-grossing sales week ever since 1991.

According to Billboard, for the week ending two days before Christmas (Dec. 23), more than 2.11 million vinyl records were sold in America, thanks largely to the holiday shopping season and the plethora of new albums that dropped in 2021 with vinyl options. That’s the highest weekly vinyl sales tally since Nielsen Soundscan started tracking music sales starting in 1991. The sales numbers also showed an increase of 45% over the 1.46 million vinyl records sold the week before.

The hottest-selling vinyl record of the week was Adele’s new album, “30,” which pushed 59,000 vinyl copies that week alone. Adele also enjoyed her fifth straight week at No. 1 Billboard’s weekly Vinyl Albums chart.

According to Billboard, the week ending Dec. 23 was the sixth consecutive week of more than one million vinyl sales in the U.S. Also that week, vinyl sales accounted for half of all album sales (digital and physical) in the U.S. and 57 percent of all physical sales.

So, is vinyl really back? We recently interviewed Buzz Osbourne of The Melvins, who begs to differ. “I mean, as far as vinyl coming back and making a comeback, I don’t see it,” Osbourne said. “Because, if you consider that Beach Boys sold 12 million copies of one single, ‘Good Vibrations,’ in three months in the summer it came out, the combined sales of all vinyl isn’t even that much in the whole world now.”

Osbourne added, “It’s not coming back. Peter Frampton sold 10 million copies of the ‘Double Live’ album in one year. That’s one artist. People like The Beatles sold 600 million albums. Nobody’s going to do that again. It’s done. It’s over. I mean, vinyl is just a pet rock. It’s like a tchotchke. That’s it.”

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Posted by Charles Ken | Music, Rock, Rock News