Physical sales bounce back with 20% market share

Physical sales bounce back with 20% market share

Music retail has been back for a fortnight and the effect on physical sales is clear to see.

After a vinyl sales surge last week when stores returned to the High Street after a three-month lockdown, there’s been a consolidation for the physical music market.

According to Official Charts Company data, for the previous seven days physical sales were up 7.6% week-on-week to 371,738 units (physical artist albums were up 9.1%). In comparison, album streams were up just 1.8%.

Crucially, physical sales were back above the 20% mark (exactly 20.0% to be precise). That’s up from 19.1% in the prior week and above the 19.4% share in the week before lockdown. During the first weeks of lockdown, physical’s share slumped.

New albums from Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Phoebe Bridgers delivered decent volumes, while Lady Gaga’s former chart-topper Chromatica moved a further 4,268 physical copies. 

The Love Records Stores initiative contributed to the week’s vinyl sales total of 86,111 units. In the latest Official Record Store Top 20, exclusive editions of albums from The Libertines, Radiohead, Oasis, New Order, Mogwai and John Grant all make appearances.

Despite the initiative, vinyl sales were actually down 2.7% week-on-week. However, that may be an unfair comparison as vinyl LPs clearly got a big boost in the prior week when record shops, including Rough Trade, HMV and Fopp stores, reopened. 

Crucially, the year-on-year result for vinyl in chart week 26 shows a whopping increase of 31.5% (in the prior week vinyl sales were down 32.4% year-on-year). Overall, year-on-year physical sales were still down 13.9%.

Retail will now be hoping for a further boost from the delayed Record Store Day later this year.

According to the OCC, CD sales reached 283,682 units in the previous seven days, an increase of 11.8% week-on-week. However, the year-on-year comparison with chart week 26 in 2019 shows a 22.3% decline for the format.

Click here to read HMV owner Doug Putman on the future of CD.

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author twitter FOLLOW Andre Paine

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