Written by: Mikala Lugen | Photo(s) by: Eric Krull
CDs & Vinyl Aren’t Dead Yet, They’re Making A Comeback
According to MRC Data, compact disc sales increased for the first time since 2004, reaching 40.59 million units in 2021, up 1.1% from 40.16 million units in 2020. Although it was released in November, Adele’s new album 30 took the top-selling position of CDs in the United States with a total of 898,000 unit sold. Taylor Swift took second and third place with her re-recorded versions of Fearless and Red, totaling 500,000 units sold.
Additionally, vinyl saw its biggest sales week in December since 1991, selling approximately 2.11 million units. As expected, Adele’s 30 was the best-selling vinyl album of 2021, while Billie Eilish, Harry Styles, and Taylor Swift also took leading vinyl sales roles.
Vinyl’s resurgence in culture has been skyrocketing over the past decade. Just 10 years ago, vinyl only made up 1.7% of physical music sales, while CDs took prominence over the market. Now, vinyl makes up 50.4%, surpassing CDs as the most sold physical format since 1991.
While the comeback of vinyl looks promising, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has actually placed the music format in jeopardy. Some of the biggest vinyl record pressing plants were closed for weeks due to local health restrictions which has resulted in a lower supply. Additionally, North America’s largest pressing facility United Record Pressing temporarily laid off 120 employees during the height of pandemic. That, along with the pandemic-related shipping interruptions and delays that we’re still facing today, has been affecting the supply chain of vinyl since the pandemic began in early 2020.
Despite the manufacturing and shipping setbacks, number don’t lie. Vinyl’s comeback is still going strong, haven risen for 15 consecutive years, with CDs making a surprising comeback, at least for this past year. Taking all factors into account, we’re happy to hear that the classics aren’t yet forgotten.