For a year that has more or less completely bucked tradition and convention, most of the new and dramatic twists of 2020 have been basically all bad news. But count what you’re about to read as an exception: for the first time since the 1980’s, vinyl sales have outpaced CD sales in the first half of 2020. Good job, music industry! That means that a lot more people are listening to vinyl records than they are putting a CD into their CD player. Now, there are probably a number of reasons for this that aren’t just “vinyl sounds better,” but it’s still good news all the same for a medium that was on the brink of extinction not so long ago after the CD took over apace. This must be a relief for musicians across the world.
In fact, of the total of physical music revenue in the first half of 2020, vinyl took away 62 percent of total revenue, totalling some $232 million in sales, while the other 38% came from CD-roms. This could at least partly be because CD players are super hard to come by these days, with a lot of laptops no longer coming with them and streaming taking over and changing hardware of our products.
But it’s not all good news: apparently, physical sales revenue fell below streaming revenue and digital download revenue for the first time ever, suggesting that for practical reasons, most people listen to streaming music. It looks like buying vinyl might be more of a collectors hobby — and not an unfair one at that, considering that vinyl may be getting way more expensive pretty soon.
It was just a few months ago, after all, that a massive fire at Apollo Masters, which manufactures the lacquer that makes vinyl records, had completely destroyed all of their facilities and most of their stock. They were the major supplier of lacquer for the entire world, and at the time of the fire, there were considerable questions about whether or not the costs of vinyl would blow up as a result of the fire. Well, either way, vinyl is still selling — and with more modern artists selling vinyl versions of their albums than ever, we’re sure it’s here to stay, even if it is a hobby for most.