CD Sales Are Rising for the First Time in Years


Image of musical CDs

Story and photo by Anne Erickson

Are CDs coming back? For the first time since 2004, sales are up

Believe it or not, CDs seem to be on their way back. According to a new report from Billboard, CD sales in the United States went up year-over-year last year for the first time since 2004.

CDs have been difficult to come by, and in recent years, it has appeared if any physical format is on the way back, it’s vinyl. However, 2021 turned out to be a big year for CDs.

Vinyl has enjoyed an uptick, too, with sales of vinyl records surging 51.4% in comparison to 2020. A few weeks ago, vinyl had its largest sales week since 1991, when Nielsen started tracking sales.

For CDs, the rise in sales wasn’t as dramatic as vinyl, but it’s there. CD sales went up 1.1%, with 40.59 million CDs sold in 2021. In comparison, 40.16 million CDs were sold in 2020. Even if that seems insignificant, it could be a sign of things to come. The vinyl surge started slowly, too. Of course, online streaming platforms continue to be popular with music consumers, such as Spotify and Apple Music.

As with vinyl’s huge sales week towards the end of 2021, the uptick in CD sales in 2021 was bolstered by the release of Adele’s new album, “30.” Adele’s record was the highest-selling album of the year, and she jetting to No. 1 on the chart for CD, vinyl and digital sales.

Of all CD sales last year, Adele’s “30” accounted for a whopping 2.15%, with 898,000 copies sold. That pushed total CD sales up in 2021 over 2020 figures. Without “30,” CD sales would have gone down for yet another year, so, in a sense, Adele is helping save the physical music format. Other major artists who released new music in 2021 and helped increase CD sales were BTS and Taylor Swift. Time will tell if this trend continues into next year.



Posted by Charles Ken | Music, Rock, Rock News