US & UK Vinyl Sales Reach New Heights During the Holidays in 2020

record vinyl sales
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record vinyl sales
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Photo Credit: Victrola

Vinyl sales in the US and UK have reached record heights during the holiday season.

New numbers from Nielsen show a record 1.842 million LPs were sold in the week leading up to December 24th. That’s the largest week for the vinyl format since Nielsen started electronically tracking music sales in the 90s. The previous record high was set just a week earlier, with 1.445 million sales for the week ending on December 17th. That’s the fourth such record-setting sales week for vinyl – and they all happened in 2020.

Previous record sales weeks for vinyl came with Record Store Day 2019. The top-selling vinyl album in the week ending on December 24th was Paul McCartney’s new studio set, McCartney III.

Meanwhile, the end of year figures from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) reflects record vinyl sales in the UK.

Vinyl sales in the UK have grown for the 13th year running, with some impressive stats. Nearly one in five albums purchased in the UK in 2020 was in the vinyl format. That’s around 18% of all album sales in the UK, or 4.8 million LPs purchased this year. Those numbers reflect a 10% rise compared to vinyl sales in 2019 in the UK. It’s also the highest figure for vinyl sales in the UK since the British pop boom in the 90s.

Record Store Day and LoveRecord Stores have helped re-ignite love for the vinyl format. Those efforts have also helped independent record shops and other specialist chains stay afloat. Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive Officer of BPI, attributes the growth of the vinyl format to the convenience of physical media during a pandemic.

“It’s remarkable that LP and audiotape sales should have risen at all given the challenges we’ve all faced. The surge in sales despite retail closures demonstrates the timeless appeal of collectible physical formats alongside the seamless connectivity of streaming,” Taylor says.

BPI also gave us a clearer picture of the top ten albums by vinyl sales in the UK in 2020. Fleetwood Mac can thank the virality of TikTok for their position at the top of this chart.

Best Albums By Vinyl Sales in 2020 – the UK

  • Fleetwood Mac – Rumors
  • Oasis – What’s the Story, Morning Glory?
  • Amy Winehouse – Back to Black
  • Nirvana – Nevermind
  • Harry Styles – Fine Line
  • Kylie Minogue – Disco
  • AC/DC – Power Up
  • Queen – Greatest Hits
  • IDLES – Ultra Mono
  • Arctic Monkeys – Live at the Royal Albert Hall

Seems like physical media is continuing to grow thanks to the pandemic. Many people want to make sure their music collection is accessible at home, regardless of internet connection.

2 Responses

  1. Johnny

    Big friggin deal!! The truth is, only about 0.000002% of musicians become “successful”. According to most people’s definition anyway. Yes you read that right, 0.000002% and that is already being generous. This is the main reason why musicians who possess an insane amount of skill and talent don’t become “successful”. So many artists continue to waste their time recording new music thinking that they will become successful and make money from their music. The reality is they will lose money! Oh yes and keep on mentioning Sir Paul McCartney as if he represents the average musician! Keep on talking about the very few musicians who actually make some money in the music business as if they are the NORM!! Don’t interview all the other 99.99%+++!!!

    • Hal

      Way to put a good, positive vibe out there, Johnny. Who cares if success isn’t achieved by most musicians? Most are not that good, in reality. There are a large number who don’t strive to become successful, but do it for the love of music. Your bitterness doesn’t take into account a lot of things, like reality.