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UK vinyl sales hit a 25-year high in 2016

Over 3.2 million records were sold, but streaming showed the biggest increase.
Jamie Rigg, @jmerigg
01.03.17 in AV
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We hardly need more convincing of vinyl's resurgence over the past few years, but a report from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) today details that more records were sold in the UK in 2016 than have been for the past 25 years. Based on Official Charts Company data, over 3.2 million vinyls were purchased in 2016 -- a volume the BPI predicted early last year -- representing a 53 percent increase over 2015 and the highest total since 1991. The death of several music icons no doubt helped (for lack of a better word), with David Bowie's Blackstar being the best-selling vinyl of the year.

Prince's Purple Rain features in the top 10, too, but new releases also enjoyed success. Somewhat surprisingly, Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1 was the third best-selling vinyl of the year. Other formats didn't fare so well in 2016. CD sales declined by over 10 percent, and downloads slipped even further, by almost 30 percent.

More people than ever are streaming music, as you'd probably expect. In fact, 45 billion audio streams were served in 2016, which is a mammoth 68 percent increase over the previous year -- and that doesn't even include YouTube data. And in December, more than 1 billion audio streams were served in a single week for the first time.

Even though streaming is becoming ever more popular, 2016 marked the ninth consecutive year of growth in vinyl sales. It probably doesn't hurt than you can now pick up a record on your emergency milk run. According to a study conducted last year by ICM Unlimited, though, 48 percent of vinyl buyers don't play their purchases and 7 percent don't even own a turntable -- suggesting that many consumers buy the format for its aesthetic and collector value, rather than the analogue sound.

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