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The sale of vinyls in the U.K are set to reach a three-decade high, partly due to music fans not being able to attend live music during the pandemic. Vinyl sales are up 10% and is set to break the £100m mark by the end of 2020. It’s set to be the best year since 1990.

For the past decade vinyl sales have been slowly creeping up with each year showing a steady growth. The music platform once considered to be dead or dying is now going from strength to strength each year. There has also been a raise in mainstream artists releasing music via vinyl in recent years. In particular Kylie Minogue, Lady GaGa and Katy Perry (to name a few).

It was uncertain ground for the physical market this year as vinyl, CDs, cassette and DVD sales plummeted by almost half in April as the first lockdown shut down the high street across the country. 

Speaking to The Guardian Drew Hill, Managing director of Proper Music, the UK’s biggest independent distributor of vinyls and CDs explains: “We have seen 250% growth from the bottom of lockdown to where we are now.” continuing: “I thought it could be catastrophic for the industry but during lockdown the kind of people buying records also probably went to a lot of gigs. They can’t do that so it seems fans are spending the money they used to on going to gigs each month on records.”

Interestingly CD sales dropped by 30% (according to the Entertainment Retailers Association), arguably due to the increase of streaming platforms. If this trend continues into the final weeks of this year CD sales will be its lowest since 1987. It is predicted that CD sales will reach £150m.

Kim Bayley, chief executive of the ERA describes it as an “extraordinary turnaround” adding that, “Thirty years ago the compact disc was the aficionados’ format as people pursued the dream of ‘perfect sound’. But with the mass market turning increasingly to streaming, vinyl and even cassette have become the aficionados’ formats of choice.”

According to the ERA the high street shut down means that 2020 will be the first time that more than half to the total physical music sales will be from online sales. Amazon taking the largest share with HMV and independent outlets also benefiting.

Although the pandemic has certainly pushed physical sales in replacement of live music; there is no doubt that physical sales, especially vinyl has been on the increase regardless. Here’s to the future where more music consumption is physical.

Top-selling vinyl albums of 2020 (so far)

1. (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? – Oasis (Sony Music)

2. Rumours – Fleetwood Mac (Warner Music)

3. Back to Black – Amy Winehouse (Universal Music)

4. Nevermind – Nirvana (Universal Music)

5. Ultra Mono – Idles (Partisan)

6. Fine Line – Harry Styles (Sony Music)

7. MTV Unplugged – Liam Gallagher (Warner Music)

8. Disco – Kylie Minogue (BMG)

9. Chromatica – Lady Gaga (Universal Music)

10. Greatest Hits – Queen (Universal Music)

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