Taylor Swift and Harry Styles help vinyl albums outsell CDs in UK for first time since 1987

Taylor Swift released her album Midnights in October  (PA Wire)
Taylor Swift released her album Midnights in October (PA Wire)

Taylor Swift and Harry Styles have proved unlikely figures behind the resurgence of vinyl sales, with LPs outselling CDs in the UK for the first time in 35 years.

The rise of both popstars has been associated with streaming rather than physical sales and neither were born in 1987 - the year vinyl sales were last higher than CDs.

However, a new generation and older fans are apparently enjoying the older format - which has seen sales rise year-on-year since 2007.

From January to November 2022, vinyl sales rose from £98 million the previous year to £116 million in cash terms. Meanwhile, the total amount of cash spent on CDs declined from £108 million to £98 million.

Swift’s album Midnights reached number one in the UK in October after a closely fought chart battle with Arctic Monkeys. But while traditional logic might suggest that the Sheffield band’s seventh album The Car might have been the more popular with vinyl enthusiasts, it was Midnights that had shifted the superior 80,000 copies at the time of writing - making it the UK’s fastest selling record of the century. The Car was the third best selling of the year, behind Harry’s House, the third offering from Harry Styles who is now achieving vinyl sales far beyond what could have been anticipated a decade ago when he was still in One Direction.

House music: Harry Styles (Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
House music: Harry Styles (Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Kim Bayley, chief executive of Entertainment and Retail Association, said it was a “myth” that the resurgence in vinyl is down to “middle aged nostalgia”.

She told the Telegraph on Wednesday: “While it is true that the initial revival more than a decade ago was driven by older demographics re-buying classic albums, kids have now embraced vinyl as their own.”

Other top sellers from 2022 included new releases such as Wet Leg’s self-titled debut and Liam Gallagher’s third album as a solo artist, C’mon You Know. But there was also room in the top 20 for classics such as Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and Nirvana’s Nevermind.