Despite an industry-wide slowdown, wax has officially taken the crown for physical format sales.
Vinyl sales have secured a historic comeback in the first half of 2020.
According to a recent report from The Recording Industry Association of America, vinyl has officially outpaced CD sales for the first time since 1986, accounting for $232.1 million in sales, compared to the $129.9 million brought in from CDs across the first two quarters of the year. And while it’s certainly a moment for wax enthusiasts to cheer, it should be noted that physical sales across the board have shrunk by 23% this year, which is likely due to COVID-19 lockdowns and (dangerously) assorted protocols from state-to-state, keeping many from leaving their homes during the pandemic. And it’s not just physicals taking the hit. Digital downloads have fallen by 22% in 2020, bringing in $351 million so far this year.
Streaming is, of course, still king, commanding a staggering 85% of total music revenue on the year, riding a 24% increase in subscriptions since 2019. Overall, the music industry managed a 5.6% increase in profits, bouncing back from a record hit during the early phase of the pandemic, in which it recorded its worst week of sales in more than 60 years.
If you’ve been tracking sales reports over the last decade, none of this should come as a surprise. Streaming will likely continue a year-over-year increase in its stake of sales, despite having the lowest returns for artists themselves. Still, it’s an early sign of life from an industry that was in dire need of defibrillation just a few months back. Here’s hoping we can keep this thing of ours alive through the next wave.