Not So Fast. Vinyl Records May Not Be Going Down

Bunch o' Vinyl Records
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Bunch o' Vinyl Records
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Vinyl image by Julieta Álvarez Leal, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC by 2.0)

Vinyl sales appear to be engaging in a game of he said/she said.

Back in June, Charlotte Hassan reported that vinyl sales have actually gone up, according to Nielsen reports. Yesterday, however, Paul Resnikoff reported that vinyl sales have actually taken a 9% nosedive. So, which is it?

Let’s take a look at the numbers for the first half of 2016. Nielsen reported back in July,

Physical album sales are down 10%, despite continued record-setting strength in Vinyl LPs, which are up 12% to 6.2 million units.

Yet according to the RIAA,

albums were down 6% by value.”

Taking a quick look at the full report from the RIAA shows that in the first half of 2015, vinyl sales made up about 0.4% of overall music revenue at $4.2 million, beating out the CD singles by .1%, although it did get hammered by physical CD sales which sat at 43.8%, raking in $531 million. This year, however, vinyl dropped only .1% to $3.2 million, while physical CD sales took the hardest hit, down to 38.9% of total music revenue, raking in only $443.9 million.

So what can we actually say about vinyl? Is it time to place the final coffin? In this writer’s opinion, I would only cautiously warn that we take a closer look at the full results of 2016. Vinyl sales do appear to have slowed down, but not enough to dismiss the format yet. I would actually be more inclined to believe that the CD may be wiped out before vinyl based not only on these numbers, but also financial reports from other countries. But I’ll leave you with DMN posters’ thoughts.


The RIAA’s numbers are for new units produced and shipped. The vinyl production industry has been in a severe backlog for years, however new plants are coming online and existing plants are adding more presses and shifts to handle the demand. Millions of new LP’S & 45’s are out at retailers already”


“Key phrase here: “…even bull markets have their ups and downs, which makes it hard to draw firm conclusions or projections from just six months of data.”

Combined with the reader-suppled information that sales have actually increased, and the fact that a large percentage of vinyl transactions take place below the reporting radar, we get a big yawn here.”

2 Responses

  1. John K. Callender

    I can’t believe in this data because I see people teeming like fish in the local record stores and they have no way of gauging record sales through online sources like EBay, Discogs and Facebook. Yes I said Facebook. I belong to a number of vinyl groups that number into the thousands and the sellers are making sales on a daily basis. So is vinyl dead? No it’s not. Maybe new vinyl isn’t holding as strong and who actually wants reprints on Herb Alpert and some of the other crap being pushed out by the vinyl mills. Most music lovers that I know want some of the newer vinyl but would prefer to stay with 1st press originals. I enjoy some of the new stuff that has came out but I am in the same boat as I prefer the originals over the new.

  2. Jack White

    “I would actually be more inclined to believe that the CD may be wiped out before vinyl”