Vinyl records used to be the most popular way to consume music, but since the 1980’s, CD’s have been the preferred physical format. Now, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) mid-year 2020 sales report shows that vinyl sales are once again leading CD sales in the U.S.
While CDs accounted for $129.9 million of music sales during the first half of the year, vinyls accounted for $232.1 million. As of 2019, vinyl record sales were reported to be on their 14th year of growth and were up 45% from 2018.
Physical sales as a whole are down as much as 23% and CD sales are down 48% for the first half of 2020. However, vinyl sales still grew by 4%, despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the rest of the industry.
On the other hand, music streaming continues to grow. It accounts for $4.8 billion of music sales and was up 12% for the first half of 2020. It’s by far the prevailing method of music consumption, constituting 85% of all music industry revenue. The RIAA report showed that paid streaming service subscriptions are up by 24% this year.
The rising popularity of streaming has led to an increase in overall music sales for the first six months of 2020 as well. Music sales are up to $5.7 billion this year.
Still, the music industry was majorly disrupted by the pandemic. Billboard mentions that quarantine precautions are responsible for some of the changes in music consumption. Before March 12, total audio consumption was up 14.6%. The pandemic closed concert venues, but Billboard claims that as of April 6th, 19% of the general population had seen a live-streamed performance.
Their report also included a statement, “We are encouraged by the continued strong demand for music. We celebrate the creativity that artists have shown and the new ways that they are staying engaged with their fan bases.”
Photo credit: Sharon Alagna