Vinyl sales have grown to their highest level since the Britpop era this year, with many consumers turning to the format during the coronavirus pandemic. According to figures from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), 4.8 million vinyl albums were purchased in the UK over the past 12 months. This is nearly a tenth higher than sales in 2019.
It is the 13th consecutive year of growth for the format since 2007 and is the highest total since the early 90s. Bands such as Blur and Oasis dominated the charts during that time.
Sales had initially dipped during the first lockdown but began to show positive year-to-date growth by September. Sales for independent record shops and specialist chains received a welcomed boost from campaigns such as LoveRecordStores, the postponed Record Store Day and National Album Day.
Using Official Charts Company data, industry body BPI released the end-of-year figures, which indicate that vinyl albums now account for nearly one in five of all albums purchased (18%).
The BPI expects to announce classic albums like Rumours by Fleetwood Mac, (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? by Oasis and Back To Black by Amy Winehouse as among the year’s best-selling vinyl albums as part of its annual report.
157,000 cassettes have also been purchased in the past 12 months, according to figures, with NOW 54 the biggest seller on the format. The figure is double the total of the previous year and the highest number since 2003, when 243,000 tapes were sold.
This is the eighth consecutive year in sales growth for the format, which has regained popularity in recent years. The cassette tape is now available on many major label album releases as standard.
Geoff Taylor, chief executive of BPI, said: “In a year when all our lives have changed, music’s power to inspire has never been more evident. The immediacy and convenience of streaming make it the go-to audio format for most of our listening, but more and more fans choose to get closer to their favourite artists and albums on vinyl.
“It’s remarkable that LP and audio tape sales should have risen at all given the challenges we’ve all faced. The surge in sales despite retail closures demonstrates the timeless appeal of collectable physical formats alongside the seamless connectivity of streaming.”
The BPI will report its final music consumption figures on January 4 2021.