Vinyl record sales have seen consistent growth in recent years, and are set to outsell CDs for the first time since 1986.
In 2019, the Recording Industry Association of America’s (RIAA) mid-year report indicated that CD sales were plummeting three times as fast as vinyl sales were increasing. In February, the RIAA reported that vinyl sales made up over a third of the revenue coming from physical releases.
This is a continued trend in the association’s 2019 mid-year report, which released on Thursday. During the first half of 2019, vinyl records grossed $224.1 million (on 8.6 million units), nearing the $247.9 million (on 18.6 million units) produced by CD sales. Vinyl revenue rose by 12.8 percent during the second half of 2018 and 12.9 percent during the first half of 2019, while CD revenue barely moved. If these trends persist, records will make more money than CDs.
Streaming is still king, though. Records only comprised 4 percent of total revenues in the first six months of 2019. On the other hand, paid subscriptions to streaming services generated 62 percent of industry revenues.
Vinyl has been advantageous for some artists, particularly classic rock groups. According to Rolling Stone, the Beatles sold more than 300,000 records in 2018, while Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Fleetwood Mac, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, and Queen all sold more than 100,000.