Vinyl sales soar to highest level since Britpop era amid pandemic

Alex Green, PA Entertainment Reporter
·2-min read

Vinyl sales grew to their highest level since the Britpop era this year, as consumers turned to the format during the coronavirus pandemic.

Some 4.8 million vinyl albums were purchased in the UK over the past 12 months, up nearly a tenth on sales in 2019, according to figures from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).

This marks the 13th consecutive year of growth for the format since 2007.

Record Store Day 2016
The annual Record Store Day event was postponed to summer due to Covid-19 (John Stillwell/PA)

It is also the highest total since the early 90s, when bands such as Blur and Oasis dominated the charts.

Sales initially dipped during the first lockdown but by September had began showing positive year-to-date growth.

Campaigns such as LoveRecordStores, the postponed Record Store Day and National Album Day also helped rally sales for independent record shops and specialist chains.

The end-of-year figures, released by industry body BPI using Official Charts Company data, indicate vinyl albums now account for nearly one in five of all albums purchased (18%).

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

The BPI expects to announce classic albums Rumours by Fleetwood Mac, (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? by Oasis and Back To Black by Amy Winehouse as among the year’s best-selling vinyl albums as part of its annual report.

It also projects that some 157,000 cassettes have been purchased in the past 12 months, double the total of the year before and the highest number since 2003, when 243,000 tapes were sold and Now 54 was the biggest seller on the format.

This would mark an eighth year of consecutive growth for the format, which has returned to fashion in recent years and is now available on many major label album releases as standard.

Geoff Taylor, chief executive of BPI, said: “In a year when all our lives have changed, music’s power to inspire has never been more evident. The immediacy and convenience of streaming make it the go-to audio format for most of our listening, but more and more fans choose to get closer to their favourite artists and albums on vinyl.

“It’s remarkable that LP and audio tape sales should have risen at all given the challenges we’ve all faced. The surge in sales despite retail closures demonstrates the timeless appeal of collectable physical formats alongside the seamless connectivity of streaming.”

The BPI will report its final music consumption figures on January 4 2021.