Vinyl Outsells CDs For the First Time in Decades

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Leviethan, Sep 10, 2020.

  1. Leviethan

    Leviethan Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Portland, OR

    I joined this forum ten years ago next month. There were people posting then about how vinyl was a passing fad. It would never overtake CDs, blah blah blah. These kind of posts have popped up with regularity over the last decade. In the meantime, Record Store Day took off, there are multiple new pressing plants worldwide (including Cascade Record Pressing, Milwaukie Oregon represent!) and now this:

    Vinyl Outsells CDs For the First Time in Decades
  2. Chris C

    Chris C Music was my first love and it will be my last!

    ... and just last week it was CD's outselling vinyl. Just like COVID-19, what is the truth anymore??? So many twists, turns and lies about everything anymore. Just buy the damn format you like and be done with it already!
  3. eric777

    eric777 Astral Projectionist

    I thought this happened already.
    chacha, ARK, seed_drill and 7 others like this.
  4. Turnaround

    Turnaround Member your mama warned you about

    New York
    That's because CD sales dropped by a whopping 45% (!!!) for 1H 2020, compared with 1H 2019. Vinyl sales are growing, but only by about 2% for 1H 2020, compared with 1H 2019.

    The real growth is in ad-supported streaming, which now accounts for more revenue than from digital downloads or from physical media sales. One might argue that the pandemic closed down brick & mortar retail stores, and thus decreased physical media sales. But digital downloads are also dropping by significant double digit percentages annually, as consumers favor streaming over buying digital downloads. Brick & mortar retail were carrying less music already, and the pandemic also reduced advertising revenues generally (no one paying for ads for closed stores, travel, etc.).

    They key takeaways are that the recorded industry is holding just steady, and streaming as a whole is now 85% of the recorded music market value.

    Edit: Those of you who remember reading about vinyl outselling CDs are probably thinking of the dozens of articles that came out in the past year or so proclaiming vinyl is on pace to outsell CDs soon.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2020
  5. Greenalishi

    Greenalishi Forum Resident

    San Francisco
    I buy both still.
    mikedifr0923, Alan2, abzach and 19 others like this.
  6. Tjazz

    Tjazz Music is my Mistress

    tug_of_war likes this.
  7. tug_of_war

    tug_of_war Sassafras & Moonshine

    Same here. I'm sure I've heard/read it before. Twice.
    BeatlesBop, 905, zither and 1 other person like this.
  8. Mothmanica

    Mothmanica Forum Cryptid

    Planet Earth
    Its possible this has been discussed here before...
  9. Jamsterdammer

    Jamsterdammer Forum Resident

    The article is somewhat misleading as it says "Music listeners bought more vinyl records than CDs in the first half of 2020". However, the article only cites revenue figures, i.e. that the total revenue from vinyl sales is now higher than for CDs. This is not surprising given that the price of a new vinyl record is about double the price of a new CD. In fact, if you look at the RIAA report, the number of units sold was 8.8 million vinyl records and 10.2 million CDs. So, still more CDs are being sold than vinyl records for now. But in fact revenues from both formats are dwarfed by streaming and the number of albums downloaded is higher than the number of CDs or vinyl records sold. So one can conclude that both CDs and vinyl records are now a niche market and are likely to stay that way. Therefore, the question which of the two physical formats sells better is becoming as irrelevant to the music industry as the formats themselves.
  10. footprintsinthesand

    footprintsinthesand Reasons To Be Cheerful Part 1

    Dutch mountains
    Exactly. And since the profit margins are with vinyl there that's where the industry is headed. Production costs for currently released cds can no longer be cut even further without including the bloody disc, but with vinyl the sky is the limit, and the longer playing time of albums originally released on cd does the rest of the trick. For fair comparison the number of albums (not discs) sold should be taken, not revenue.
    Crawdad, eschorama, shaboo and 4 others like this.
  11. clhboa

    clhboa Forum Resident

    Wow, those sales figures seem kind of dismal overall!
    Jamsterdammer likes this.
  12. richierichie

    richierichie My glass is always full.

    I buy lots of new vinyl LPs, still buy CDs also, but prefer LPs.

    The thing is that may not carry on for much longer. Today I am returning a copy of The Moody Blues - Live At The Isle Of Wight plus 2 replacement copies, 2 copies of Mercury Rev - All Is Dream reissue, 1 copy of Jimi Hendrix - Band Of Gypsies. Why? Because every one of them is WARPED!

    These are not the first I have returned this year. I will not accept inferior product. The Quality Control at 90% Of pressing plants appears to be non-existent.

    Not every LP I have bought this year has been in this condition, the very recent Rolling Stones 4LP Goats Head Soup comes to mind and the ERC Mono Edition of Forever Changes (but for £300 a copy you know it would be optimum condition). I decided to buy Paul Simon's back catalogue on LP, a month ago, every one perfect but these copies, although bought new would have been pressed a few years ago.

    I will persevere with LPs for now but would buy even more new albums on LPs but for VERY poor pressing quality.

    I am very happy that LPs have a high profile and are selling well but unless Quality Control (an oxymoron at several pressing plants) is applied 100%, I for one will no longer be buying.
    sennj, bluemooze and Crawdad like this.
  13. anorak2

    anorak2 Forum Resident

    Berlin, Germany
    In the United States, not elsewhere. Also that article quotes revenue, not units shipped. The two are not equivalent given the vast price difference.
  14. The Bishop

    The Bishop Forum Resident

    Dorset, England.
    Streaming is surely the winner here, as the new generation takes over from the old. And that’s cool, doesn’t affect me.

    I shall be sticking with my CDs though, as I cannot be doing with vinyl surface noise issues anymore.

    I do like to stream as well, but when I really want to listen, it’s inevitably CD. Vinyl, now and again.
  15. Sneaky Pete

    Sneaky Pete Forum Resident

    I’m happy that vinyl is selling. Any physical media sales help keep music available to those of us who don’t want to stream.

    I buy both but CDs have been so affordable I’ve been buying them more than records. Vinyl sounds the best but both formats can sound excellent if they are done right.
    Matisse, wgriel, phonograph and 5 others like this.
  16. GubGub

    GubGub Forum Resident

    All I know is, if and when the time finally comes that music is not available on some kind of physical format (or at least available for me to store and back up on my own equipment rather than some nebulous cloud), I shall no longer be listening to new music
    The Quiet One, Jrr, sennj and 4 others like this.
  17. Say It Right

    Say It Right Not for the Hearing Impaired

    Niagara Falls
    The preamble doesn't even directly relate to the article that he posted. It was to feel self-satisfied that he purchases vinyl.
  18. dkmonroe

    dkmonroe A completely self-taught idiot

    CDs are the only quantity in the world where units sold matters more than the actual amount of money earned. :laugh:

    And even so, if the difference is 10 and 8 millions, that's not a howling difference in units sold. At this rate in another year or two, LPs will probably sell more physical copies AND make more money than CDs.
  19. Jimmy Agates

    Jimmy Agates Forum Resident

    klockwerk likes this.
  20. Lynivevoli

    Lynivevoli Ain't it Fun!

    When this whole internet/computer fad ends and everyone loses all their music I'll still be spinning my vinyl!
  21. robbroncs

    robbroncs Forum Disgrace

    New cars without CD players was the real nail in the coffin. i just got a new car in may. and have only bought one CD (strange for me). if i'm going to rip a cd, i may as well buy an LP and download it or use spotify. i think i need to find a way to put a discman in my car. it feels weird walking out of the house without a CD in my hand.... in fact, it has depressed me quite a bit.
  22. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley 5.1 should be mandatory for my favourite albums

    The more relevant factor is records sold pretty much the same amount.
    The fact of the matter is vinyl had more revenue, but cd's outsold records by two million copies.
    It is negligible sure, but the reporting on this is actually quite twisted. Outsold means quantity of units. Revenue is a different thing altogether.

    To be honest, I have no idea why record buyers are so excited by this. Nor do I understand why cd buyers are bothered about this. It essentially means they are both niche markets now, and both in danger of being cut off...... there is no winning in this little game, it is a tragedy for music lovers.

    The whole way all this is reported has an insidious ring of agenda. The big business dudes want streaming. They know records are a niche product and will likely remain that way. So kill the cd. Market speculation has always been a powerful tool in undermining business, and it is working a treat in this instance.

    No music lover wins if records or cd's go under. It means we are at the mercy of streaming companies completely at that stage. We already have spotify having financial/stockmarket issues, and they also have shown recently that they will censor artists.

    What is happening at the moment is not a good thing, and at the end of the day music suffers, as do the music fans.
, BDC, cdnostalgia and 19 others like this.
  23. BwanaBob

    BwanaBob Forum Resident

    Maryland, USA
    I rip every CD I buy (and have bought) to lossless and stick a buttload of albums on a thumb drive. My new car (2018) didn't come with a CD player but has USB ports integrated into the car stereo and I can happily play my new CDs as lossless digital files.

    People are just f***kin lazy if they can't be bothered to rip a CD which takes all of a minute or two.
, subzro, MYQ1 and 6 others like this.
  24. Turnaround

    Turnaround Member your mama warned you about

    New York
    Adding to the above --

    The chart below shows historical CD album sales in the US, which was 943 million at its peak in 2000. The RIAA report discussed in this thread reports 10.2 million CD sales for 1H 2020, so let's project that to mean 20.4 million for 2020. That's only about 2% of CD sales in its best year.

    We have forum members still proclaiming that CDs and physical media is not dead. Technically it's not dead, but being 2% of your former self is kinda like being in a coma on life support.

    People celebrating the triumph of vinyl sales over CD sales -- when you consider how weak CD sales are now, that's like quibbling over which format placed 8th or 9th in the 100 meter dash, when Usain Bolt (streaming) won the gold metal.

, DML71, Pouchkine and 12 others like this.

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