According to the January 3, 2018 Nielsen 2017 U.S. MUSIC YEAR-END REPORT, vinyl record sales continued to rise. This is great news for those who appreciate the format since it is sure to mean more music being released on vinyl. It has also got to be good news for the indie record stores as new retail sales are sure to fuel the used vinyl market.
According to Nielsen “Vinyl had a renaissance at retail by experiencing sales growth for the 12th consecutive year, comprising 14% of all physical album sales. The top-selling vinyl LP of the year was the re-release of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”
Vinyl record sales in the US totaled 14.32 million units in 2017. That’s a 9% increase over the previous high of 13.1 million in 2016.
This also represents an increase from 6.5% to 8.5% of all album sales in from 2016 to 2017. Keep in mind that album sales include digital album sales as well as digital album equivalents when music is streamed. The streaming of 1,500 tracks is considered an album sale equivalent.
When you measure against physical media sales (vinyl records, tapes and CDs), vinyl moved from an 11% share in 2016 to 14% in 2017.
Billboard had another way to express the solid performance of vinyl, “Further, vinyl album sales were driven by an array of titles, not just a handful of hot sellers. In total, 77 different titles each sold more than 20,000 copies on vinyl LP in 2017, as compared to 58 in 2016.” (U.S. Vinyl Album Sales Hit Nielsen Music-Era Record High in 2017).
The Beatles continue to do their part to help vinyl sales climb. The reissue of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band sold 72,000 copies while Abbey Road contributed another 66,000 units. Not bad for a band that hasn’t put out anything new in a few decades.