Vinyl Records Will Outsell CDs Soon


Blog > Vinyl Records Will Outsell CDs Soon

Written by Jeremy Hallock

Posted September 11, 2019

For the first time since 1986, vinyl record sales are expected to overtake CDs domestically.

According to the Record Industry Association of America (RIAA), recording revenues are up and expected to top $10 billion in 2019. When adjusted for inflation, this number is about half of what the industry was making two decades ago. But the first half of 2019 had a healthy increase of nearly 20% compared to a 10% increase last year.

Streaming subscriptions are still the most popular way to listen to music, accounting for about 80% of recorded music sales. But every other format except vinyl is declining. The resurgence of the old format is clearly no trend because it has been happening for over a decade. LP sales now account for almost half of physical sales, which are no longer plummeting.

In the first half of 2019, vinyl record sales generated $224 million with 8.6 million units. CD sales were 18.6 million, generating $247.9 million. Additionally, vinyl record sales increased by 12% in both the second half of 2018 and the first half of 2019 while CD sales remained the same.

Unless CDs make an unexpected comeback, vinyl record sales will outpace CDs in 2020, or perhaps even by the end of this year, for the first time in over three decades.