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UK vinyl sales reach highest level since 1990

Sales of vinyl records in the UK have hit their highest level since 1990.

The revived popularity of the physical format has resulted in the 16th consecutive year of rising sales, according to the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).

The BPI added in a new report that the vinyl market has increased more than four times as fast with an 11.7 per cent rise to 5.9 million units in 2023.

Taylor Swift‘s ‘1989 (Taylor’s Version)‘ was the best-selling album of the year, followed by The Rolling Stones‘ ‘Hackney Diamonds‘.

According to the BPI’s analysis, the “ever-rising demand for vinyl albums and other music releases on physical format” reflects a “thriving market for music on the high street”, citing the popularity of independent record stores and the success of shops like HMV, which reopened its flagship store on London’s Oxford Street this year.

Additionally, seven of the 10 biggest vinyl LP sellers were records that came out in 2023, including Swift’s ‘Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)‘, Blur‘s ‘The Ballad Of Darren‘, Lana Del Rey‘s ‘Did You Know There’s A Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd‘, Lewis Capaldi‘s ‘Broken By Desire To Be Heavenly Sent‘, and Kylie Minogue‘s ‘Tension‘.

The report also found that British artists helped fuel vinyl growth, with more than 40 per cent of the 100 most-purchased vinyl LPs of 2023 released in the past two years including albums by UK artists. These included The 1975‘s ‘Being Funny In A Foreign Language‘, Depeche Mode‘s ‘Memento Mori‘, Gorillaz‘s ‘Cracker Island‘ and Maisie Peters‘ ‘The Good Witch’.

Classic albums and re-issues also continued to prove popular in 2023, with the biggest sellers including Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumours’ – which is set to be among the year’s 10 biggest-selling vinyl LPs for an eighth consecutive time – Courteneers’ ‘St Jude’, De La Soul‘s ‘3 Feet High And Rising’ and Oasis’ ‘The Masterplan’.

Dr Jo Twist OBE, BPI Chief Executive, said: “Led by vinyl, the resurgence of physical product underlines the resilience of the UK music market at a time when streaming consumption continues to hit record levels. Whilst LP sales have now been on an upward path for the past 16 years, it is encouraging to see a stabilisation in demand for CD, as well as new generations of music fans falling in love with the cassette.  It is giving people more choice than ever in how they enjoy their favourite music.”

The CD market also sustained its smallest annual decline in nearly a decade in 2023.

Final figures for vinyl LP, CD and cassette sales in 2023 will be revealed by the BPI on January 3, 2024. You can check out the current sales rankings here.

In other vinyl news, a music exec recently stated that artists who make physical records during the climate crisis are “hypocritical”.

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