Vinyl outsold CDs in the US for the first time in decades

If you bought a physical album in 2021, chances are it was vinyl.

For the first time since MRC Data (formerly Nielsen SoundScan) started tracking music sales in 1991, annual sales of vinyl records surpassed those of compact discs (CDs) in the US.

CDs had a good year. Between 2020 and 2021, annual sales increased 1% from 40.2 million to 40.6 million. But vinyl had a very good year as sales rose 51% to 41.7 million in 2021.

The vinyl renaissance, which started in the last decade, is the product of a confluence of factors: nostalgia among older music listeners, a desire to directly support artists after live music venues shut down during the pandemic, and newfound popularity among younger generations.

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Photo: Getty Images Europe

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