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UK vinyl sales look set to overtake CDs in 2022

Revenue figures suggest vinyl will surpass CDs this year

By Hollie Geraghty

A vinyl record on a player
(Photo: Pexels).

CD sales in the UK will soon be overtaken by vinyl, according to figures from the Entertainment Retailers’ Association (ERA).

Vinyl sales in 2021 made up £135.6million (up 23.2. per cent year-on-year) while CD sales reached £150.1million (down 3.9 per cent), as Music Week reports.

While CD sales are currently still ahead, it’s looking very likely that vinyl will overtake them in revenue this year.

Data from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) also shows that CDs still remain ahead in unit sales, with 14.4million discs sold in 2021 compared to 5.3million vinyl albums.

Speaking to Music Week, Sony Music UK VP of market planning and sales Charles Wood said he believes the next 12 months will see vinyl will become the largest physical financial contributor to labels.

“Following an uplift of interest in vinyl sales during Covid, we saw that vinyl was being purchased by a broader audience, beyond your music fanatics and niche format obsessives that drove the ‘vinyl revival’,” he said. 

“We saw continued growth for vinyl sales in 2021 – now making up 27 per cent of the physical market in terms of volume. When you take into consideration a significantly higher price point for vinyl, we will soon see vinyl become the largest physical format in the market in terms of revenue.”

In December it was revealed that vinyl sales in 2021 were the highest they’d been in 30 years, despite supply and production issues.

ABBA’s ‘Voyage’ was the biggest vinyl seller in 2021, followed by Adele’s ’30’. Earlier this year, it was also announced that David Bowie was the UK’s best-selling vinyl artist of the 21st century

While CDs may lose the top spot for physical sales, the unit sales decline of 10.5 per cent was not as steep as previous years, suggesting CDs too may experience a comeback.

Linda Walker, senior vice president, commercial, UK & Europe, at Warner Music UK, cited Record Store Day as an important date for vinyl sales.

Today Record Store Day announced the full list of releases, which includes Taylor Swift, Sam Fender and Bring Me The Horizon among artists offering exclusive releases, meaning they will only be available through independent record shops.

Swift, who was announced as the first global ambassador for Record Store Day 2022, will release a 7″ vinyl of ‘the lakes’.