Vinyl sales hit 25-year high

Vinyl sales have hit the highest annual total for a quarter of a century, new figures have revealed.

More than 3.2 million LPs were sold in 2016, a 53 per cent increase on the previous year and the highest annual total since 1991, according to UK labels’ association the BPI (British Phonographic Industry), based on Official Charts Company data.

This is the ninth consecutive year that demand for vinyl has shown growth. This is in stark contrast to the low point of 2007, when just over 200,000 LPs were purchased.

Vinyl LPs now account for almost five per cent of the albums market, with David Bowie topping the list as the best-selling vinyl artist.

According to the BPI, the demand for vinyl illustrates the enduring appeal of music on physical formats, particularly in a multi-channel world.

In contrast, CD sales declined by more than a tenth (11.7 per cent). However, the format “remains resilient” with many consumers still drawn to its collectible appeal.

Collectively, LPs, CDs and physical formats account for just over 41 per cent of UK music consumption in volume terms.

Vanessa Higgins, chief executive of Regent Street and Gold Bar Records, and an independent label and member of the BPI Council, said: “Fans are listening to music in so many ways now – we’ve definitely entered a multi-channel era. Millennials, who’ve grown up digital, are increasingly choosing to experience both current and heritage artists on vinyl also. Meanwhile, older baby-boomers are embracing streaming alongside their record collections. And, impressively, in between all that, there is still more than enough space for the CD, which remains popular both with upcoming artists, who need an attractive physical product, and consumers, who still like to gift, collect and own the recordings they love.”

BPI and Brit Awards chief executive Geoff Taylor added: “We believe this performance is indicative of the promise of a new era for music, where recorded music’s investments in a digital future fuel compelling benefits for fans, artists and the entire music ecosystem.”