Vinyl sales have surged by 13.2% year-on-year for the first nine months of 2023.
According to data from the BPI, 3,952,262 vinyl LPs were sold during the year to the end of September. The year-on-year increase was ahead of the 12.4% growth for the first half of 2023.
At 15.1%, the year-on-year increase was even bigger during the three months of the Q3 period. A total of 1,237,620 vinyl LPs were sold in the quarter.
Vinyl sales increased by a fairly modest 2.9% in 2022, but double-digit growth for the format looks likely to return for 2023. With a potential blockbuster Q4 line-up – including albums from Take That, the Rolling Stones and Taylor Swift – vinyl is set for another strong quarter during the gifting season.
Black Friday, Record Store Day’s sister event, will take place on November 24. More than 90 artists, including De La Soul, Sia, Joni Mitchell, Prince, Rilo Kiley, The Doors and Post Malone, will release limited edition vinyl editions.
The indie retail sector spoke to Music Week for a feature in our current edition – you can read insights from Rough Trade, Crash Records, Banquet and Drift.
Speaking about the impact of Record Store Day as part of the feature, ERA CEO Kim Bayley said that the annual event “stands alongside the invention of streaming as a landmark moment for music” and became “the single most important catalyst” for the vinyl revival.
Record Store Day stands alongside the invention of streaming as a landmark moment for music
“Are there wrinkles in it? Are there challenges? Of course,” she told Music Week. “That is why we tweak the day every year and take feedback from the entire industry as to ways to shape the day. But the big picture is that it has been and continues to be a resounding success.”
Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) by Taylor Swift was the biggest-selling vinyl release during Q3 with 29,649 sales (Official Charts Company), followed by Blur’s The Ballad Of Darren (26,894), Kylie Minogue’s Tension (19,160), Olivia Rodrigo’s Guts (14,611) and Wham!’s The Singles: Echoes From The Edge Of Heaven (10,782).
The biggest vinyl release for the year to date is Lana Del Rey’s Did You Know That There’s A Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd, which has UK sales of 33,568 on the format. Speak Now is at No.2, followed by The Ballad Of Darren at No.3 and Tension at No.5 (see sales for Q3 above). Lewis Capaldi's Broken By Desire To Be Heavenly Sent is at No.4 so far this year (21,853 sales).
Fleetwood Mac's Rumours is the biggest catalogue title on vinyl for the year to date (No.6, 19,151 sales). The rest of the Top 10 vinyl LPs for 2023 so far: Council Skies by Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds (No.7, 17,921 sales), Midnights by Taylor Swift (No.8, 17,368), Cracker Island by Gorillaz (No.9, 17,344) and Pink Floyd's The Dark Side Of The Moon (No.10, 17,342).
With CD sales down 6.3% year-on-year so far in 2023 (to 7,270,654), physical sales are flat overall (down just 0.5% to 11,365,554).
Streaming is of course the dominant means of music consumption now, taking an 88.5% share of the recorded music market. Streaming growth remains in double digits with an 11.6% increase in Streaming Equivalent Albums (SEA) to the end of Q3 (118,914,835 units), according to the BPI.
Overall music consumption (AES) is up 9.8% year-on-year so far in 2023 at 133,914,835 equivalent album units.
2023’s biggest albums & singles
According to Official Charts Company data, The Weeknd’s The Highlights is the most consumed album of the year so far (304,923 chart sales in 2023). It has been out in front since Q1.
The Highlights is one of six catalogue titles in the Top 10 for the year to date.
Taylor Swift’s Midnights is at No.2 overall (264,260 sales in 2023) for the year to date, followed by Harry Styles’ Harry’s House (230,927).
The biggest week one sale so far remains the 95,882 for Lewis Capaldi’s Broken By Desire To Be Heavenly Sent.
In the artist album rankings, Taylor Swift’s Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) was the biggest album of Q3 (131,471), followed by Olivia Rodrigo’s Guts (100,848), which achieved that gold certification in just three weeks.
The biggest UK breakthrough in the album rankings so far this year is Polydor-signed Clavish, whose mixtape Rap Game Awful makes the overall Top 100 to the end of Q3 (No.94, 59,092 sales).
Miley Cyrus’ Flowers, which spent 10 weeks at No.1, is the biggest single with 1,496,859 sales, followed by UK star Raye’s smash Escapism (feat. 070 Shake) on 997,024 chart sales in 2023 (the No.1 for Raye has 1,228,614 sales including those at the end of last year).
During Q3, Sprinter by Dave & Central Cee – which spent 10 weeks at No.1 – emerged as the quarter’s biggest single (612,888 sales).
Olivia Rodrigo was at No.2 with Vampire (498,407), followed by Dua Lipa’s Dance The Night at No.3 (402,282).
Dance The Night is taken from The Barbie Album soundtrack, which would have made No.2 in Q3 (127,152 sales) but for its inclusion on the compilations chart.
Subscribers can click here to read our feature on independent retail as the sector prepares for the busy Q4 period.
PHOTO: Banquet Records