Vinyl record sales rose to their highest level in more than 30 years in 2023 after Taylor Swift’s new rerecorded album propelled purchases to their fastest growth in a decade.
Nearly six million vinyl units were sold in the past 12 months, marking a rise of nearly 12% on the previous year and the biggest haul since 1990, according to the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).
Swift’s rerecording of her album 1989 was the biggest-selling vinyl LP of the year while new releases from Ed Sheeran, Lana Del Rey, Lewis Capaldi and The Rolling Stones also cemented a strong year for the format.
Classic albums like Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours and Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon were also among the top 10.
Vinyl sales have grown every year since 2007, but the 11.7% rise in 2023 is the best for a decade.
A last-minute Christmas stampede for vinyl also saw 250,000 units sold last week alone, the biggest week for vinyl sales since 2000.
BPI chief executive Jo Twist 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.”
CDs, which still outsell vinyl at nearly 11 million units per year, also surprised with their slowest decline in several years. The format had been consistently falling by double digits.
CD sales dropped by 20% in 2022, but improved this year falling by only 6% as Take That’s new album This Life and Swift’s 1989 stemmed the decline.
Strong vinyl sales and a better performance from CDs meant this year nearly marked the first time physical sales had grown since 2004.
Overall, sales of physical formats fell by only 1% versus 2022.
Despite the vinyl revival, Brits still consume most of their music through streaming services, with 86% of recorded music consumed in the UK done through streaming apps like Spotify and Apple.
Vinyl has been growing in popularity for several years thanks to its retro appeal, eye-catching artwork and the ritual of listening to records.
Record labels have also been keen to promote the format as vinyl albums generally retail for around £30 (NZD$60) or more.
Vinyl sales are generally lifted by artists selling limited edition versions. Superfans will buy the albums in multiple formats, helping boost sales.
The last time vinyl sales were this high was in the early nineties when megastars like Michael Jackson, Madonna, Bruce Springsteen and Whitney Houston dominated sales.
Sales of vinyl fell throughout the late nineties before hitting a nadir in 2007 when only 200,000 units were sold.