Vinyl records make a comeback

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Vinyl records have indeed made a significant comeback in recent years. In 2022, for the second year in a row, vinyl albums outsold CD albums in the U.S., marking the 17th consecutive year of growth for vinyl album sales. A total of 43.46 million vinyl albums were sold in 2022, up 4.2% from 41.72 million in 2021. This accounted for 43.4% of all album purchases in the U.S. in 2022, and 54.4% of all physical albums sold2. The resurgence of vinyl records is not limited to the U.S. but is a global trend. In the first half of 2023, vinyl sales in the U.S. increased by 21.7% compared to the same period in the previous year8. This trend is driven by various factors, including the appeal of the vintage aesthetic, the physicality of the medium, and the unique sound quality that vinyl offers12. Interestingly, only half of those buying vinyl records actually own a record player, suggesting that for many, vinyl records have become collector's items25. The top-selling vinyl album of 2022 was Taylor Swift’s "Midnights," which sold 945,000 copies, marking the largest yearly sales total for a vinyl album since Luminate began tracking sales in 19912. However, despite the resurgence, vinyl is still far from its peak popularity in the 1970s. When factoring in streaming and downloads of single tracks, vinyl accounts for less than 5% of album equivalent music consumption5. Nonetheless, the revival of this century-old technology in the digital age is a fascinating trend, demonstrating the enduring value of physical goods in the music industry125.
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