Vinyl sales are at a record 30-year high

You might be surprised by the biggest selling artists

For the first time since 1991 UK vinyl sales have tipped the 5 million mark. Now, nearly 21% of all album sales are coming from the analogue format. The staggering numbers are in large part down to some of the UK’s most mainstream artists, with the likes of Ed Sheeran & Adele helping to tip the scales.

Surprisingly, the biggest seller was ABBA’s ‘Voyage’, that has gone on to sell more than 30,000 physical copies in its initial release week alone making it the fastest selling vinyl release of the century.

The format has had a strong year on year growth over the last 14 years and a rather large increase of 8% since 2020, as demand soared throughout the lockdowns. The demise of the CD continues though, with only 14 million sold last year. This equates to its lowest sales levels since 1988 when the first CDs were hitting the market in the UK.

Andy Kerr, head of product marketing and communications for Bowers & Wilkins (a British speaker manufacturer), gave his thoughts to the Guardian:

I do think a huge amount of what’s going on with vinyl is not about the sound at all, it’s about the theatre of it, it’s the experience of it. The LP record forces you into that, you don’t tend to skip every 30 seconds because you don’t like the way that the song is going, you tend to listen to it all the way through.

Andy Kerr

Vinyl sales soared even though the Covid-19 pandemic caused significant issues to global supply chains for raw materials to press and package records. Vinyl factories actually ended up backlogged due to renowned British singer/songwriter Adele and her mammoth preorder of 500,000 records, accounting for 0.3 % of vinyl sales in the year just gone.

Drew Hill, MD Proper Music Distribution, said: 

It’s been an incredible year for CDs, vinyl and cassettes as they continued to drive albums up the charts. This year, nearly 90% of unique #1 albums hit the top spot off the back of a physical sales majority, with some hugely impressive numbers from the likes of Adele, whose new album maintained its chart lead with an increasing physical majority share, and ABBA, who claimed the title of fastest-selling vinyl of the century. It’s further proof that in this golden era of choice, music fans really cherish an album they can hold!

Drew Hill

Do you think vinyl sales will continue to boom in 2022?

Words: Neil Ritchie

Images: Jed Lopez,

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