Harry Styles, Kylie Minogue, Oasis, Arctic Monkeys, Idles and AC/DC boost vinyl sales in 2020

Harry Styles, Kylie Minogue, Oasis, Arctic Monkeys, Idles and AC/DC boost vinyl sales in 2020

New figures released by the BPI have revealed that sales of vinyl LPs and audio cassettes surged ahead in 2020.

Released ahead of the overall BPI figures for 2020 on January 4, the latest sales data on vinyl and cassettes shows how fans turned to physical formats during the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the Official Charts Company data supplied by the BPI, 4.8 million LPs were purchased in the UK over the past 12 months, a year-on-year increase of almost 10% and a 13th consecutive year of growth since 2007. Despite the many challenges for retail during the pandemic, the performance in 2020 was stronger than 2019, when vinyl sales were up 4.1% year-on-year.

Vinyl LPs now account for nearly one in five of all albums purchased (18%) and are at their highest level since the early ’90s. Vinyl generates almost twice as much in industry revenues as music video streaming platforms such as YouTube, noted the BPI. 

While streaming now accounts for around 80% of UK music consumption, the immediacy of the digital format is increasingly complemented by the collection of physical editions by fans.

Among the titles expected to be announced as the year’s best-sellers by the Official Charts Company are classic LPs such as Rumours by Fleetwood Mac, Amy Winehouse’s Back To Black and Nirvana’s Nevermind. Oasis’ (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? is set to be the second biggest seller on vinyl in 2020, following a successful 25th anniversary reissue campaign.

Alongside the perennial classics on the format, new studio albums have also performed well on vinyl this year, including Harry Styles’ Fine Line (the biggest new vinyl release of the past year with 22,368 sales), Kylie Minogue’s DiscoAC/DC’s Power UpUltra Mono by Idles and the new live album from Arctic Monkeys.

In a year when all our lives have changed, music’s power to inspire has never been more evident

Geoff Taylor

Vinyl LP sales initially dipped during the first lockdown but by September they began showing positive year-to-date growth for the first time. Campaigns such as Love Record Stores, Tim Burgess’ Twitter Listening Party, Record Store Day (over three dates), The Record Club and National Album Day (in October) helped to rally fans in support of indie record shops, specialist chains and the artist community.  

Though still only a fraction of overall recorded music, cassettes now come as standard on many album releases. It is projected that around 157,000 tapes will have been purchased in the past 12 months – double the total of the year before and the highest amount since 2003, when 243,000 tapes were sold and Now 54 was the year’s biggest seller on the format. This would mark an eighth year of consecutive growth for the format, which is finding a new market thanks to its retro, collectable appeal.

Among the most popular titles released on cassette in 2020 were Lady Gaga’s Chromatica5 Seconds Of Summer’s Calm, Yungblud’s Weird! and The 1975’s Notes On A Conditional Form.

Geoff Taylor, chief executive BPI, BRIT Awards & Mercury Prize, said: “In a year when all our lives have changed, music’s power to inspire has never been more evident. The immediacy and convenience of streaming make it the go-to audio format for most of our listening, but more and more fans choose to get closer to their favourite artists and albums on vinyl.

“It’s remarkable that LP and audio tape 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 collectable physical formats alongside the seamless connectivity of streaming.” 

Predicted best-selling vinyl albums for 2020 (based on Official Charts Company data)

1.   Fleetwood Mac – Rumours
2.   Oasis – (What’s The Story) Morning Glory?
3.   Amy Winehouse – Back To Black
4.   Nirvana – Nevermind
5.   Harry Styles – Fine Line
6.   Kylie Minogue – Disco
7.   AC/DC – Power Up
8.   Queen – Greatest Hits
9.   Idles – Ultra Mono
10. Arctic Monkeys – Live At The Royal Albert Hall

Predicted best-selling cassette albums for 2020 (based on Official Charts Company data)

1.   Lady Gaga Chromatica
2.   5 Seconds Of Summer – Calm
3.   Yungblud – Weird!
4.   The 1975 – Notes On A Conditional Form                 
5.   Blackpink – The Album   
6.   Selena Gomez – Rare
7.   Kylie Minogue – Disco
8.   Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia
9.   Haim – Women In Music Pt III
10. The Streets – None Of Us Are Getting Out Of This Life Alive

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