Vinyl outsells CDs in the US for the first time since the 1980s

Subscribe to Mixdown Magazine

Vinyl outsells CDs in the US for the first time since the 1980s

In their mid-year report, which you can view here, the RIAA’s figures show that vinyl accounted for 62% of all physical revenue in the US from January – June, making up $232 million of the period’s total $367 million sum. This essentially marks the first time that the CD has not been the dominant physical format for music listening in several decades, and also marks the peak of vinyl’s unlikely return to the mainstream. 


However, it’s not all fun and games for physical formats. The report also reveals that due to the effects of the pandemic and physical store closures, revenues from physical products were down 23% year-over-year. Further to that, vinyl actually only accounted for 4% of total recorded music revenues – so if anything, this could also more telling of the decline of CDs than it is for the rise of vinyl. 


The RIAA’s mid-year report also indicates that streaming now accounts for a whopping 85% of the market value in the US, growing 12% in 2020 to account for a total of $4.8 billion. Elsewhere, the report states that for the first time ever, ad-supported on-demand streaming revenue ($421m) topped the combined figures of digital downloads and physical sales ($351m) – a stat that’s surely reflective of music’s ever-growing status as a commodity. 


You can read the report in its entirety here. It’ll be interesting reading similar figures for the Australian market when they come out of ARIA within coming months – stay tuned to hear more soon. 


Guitars have also seen a huge spike in sales due to the pandemic – find out some of the figures here.