Americans bought A LOT of vinyl in 2021

Vinyl accounted for more than half of all physical albums sold

Photograph of vinyl record
A vinyl record, freshly pressed in Jacksonville by Atlantic Beach's Vinyl Record Pressing | Credit: Photograph by Cole LoCurto

Vinyl was was ascendent in 2021, outpacing CDs and becoming the preferred physical format of American music consumers. In fact, vinyl accounted for more than half of all physical music purchased in 2021, according to a new report from Billboard Magazine and MRC Data, a music data collection company.

According to the report, Americans bought more than 41 million vinyl records (including more than two million over the holiday shopping season alone), compared to just over 40 million CDs. As JME reported earlier in the year, the combination of increased demand for vinyl records and supply chain issues related to the pandemic even caused significant delays at record presses across the country. (Read how the shortage impacted local artists and vinyl manufacturers.)

The report also showed that music consumption grew overall, with a more than 12% increase in on-demand streaming. While new releases from contemporary artists like Adele, Olivia Rodrigo and Taylor Swift certainly nudged both sales of vinyl and streams upward, Americans were digging into older music at a higher clip in 2021, as the report showed a dip in the consumption of new music.

Vinyl sales are up in the UK, as well, where listeners bought more than five million records in 2021, an 8% increase over the previous year, according to the BBC. ABBA’s “Voyager,” theSwedish pop group’s first new record in 40 years, was the biggest vinyl seller in the country.

ABBA’s chart-topping release (which debuted at number one in more than a dozen countries and sold more than one million units worldwide in its first week) was a fitting capstone to was a strange and entertaining year in music.

Wondering where to shop for vinyl in and around Jacksonville? Read JME’s list of the best record stores in Northeast Florida.

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