Vinyl records have been experiencing a resurgence in the UK this year, reaching their highest EOY sales since 1990.

Driven by an unexpected Christmas surge with 250,000 records sold in a single week, this Christmas marks the most significant weekly sales since the turn of the century.

Artists like Taylor Swift, Fleetwood Mac, and the Rolling Stones have played leading roles in UK vinyl sales with their albums dominating the charts during the festive period. Taylor Swift’s new version of “1989,” Fleetwood Mac’s iconic “Rumours,” and The Rolling Stones’ “Hackney Diamonds” were all among the top sellers.

This unexpected demand consequently resulted in a yearly total of over 5.9 million vinyl LPs sold, reflecting an impressive 11.7% annual increase and marking the highest level since the days of Elton John’s “Sacrifice” and Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby” in 1990.

The vinyl revival has been fueled by a new generation of music lovers embracing retro formats, including LPs and cassettes. Vinyl albums, cherished for their cover art, sleeve notes, and warmer sound, have become popular gifts, contributing to record-breaking sales.

Taylor Swift emerged as the year’s most popular vinyl artist, with her re-recordings of albums like “1989” and “Speak Now” contributing significantly to her sales. Other top-selling artists in 2023 include Blur, Lana Del Rey, Lewis Capaldi, The Rolling Stones, and Kylie Minogue.

However, the resurgence is not limited to vinyl alone. Cassette sales have exceeded 100,000 units for the fourth consecutive year! Additionally, CD sales which peaked in 2004 are expected to fall by a further 6.6% this year compared to a 19.3% fall last year.

Why are physical music sales growing?

The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) attributes the physical format’s revival to the resilience of the UK music market and the diverse preferences of music enthusiasts. The stabilization in demand for CDs, coupled with new generations embracing cassettes, underscores the continued importance of physical products alongside the streaming era.

Vinyl sales are not just a UK phenomenon though. This trend is observed globally, aligning with the resurgence witnessed in the United States in 2021. The love for vinyl is not fading, and as the LP celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2023, it remains as relevant as ever, proving that physical music purchases are an essential and healthy part of the music market in the age of streaming.