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Vinyl Sales Skyrocket 108%, Streams Rise 15% in First Half of 2021


The boom the recorded music industry has experienced in recent years shows all signs of continuing despite the pandemic. MRC Data (formerly Nielsen Music) just published numbers for the first half of 2021, and they look quite good for labels, publishers, distributors and other purveyors of recorded music.

Overall, on-demand streams in the U.S. (Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, etc.) grew 10.8%, to 555.3 billion in the first half of 2021 compared to the same period of 2020. Within that category, audio streams grew 15% to nearly 483 billion in the U.S., and that number jumps to a 27.3% rise globally (1.296 trillion audio streams).

Vinyl sales, which have been on an upward trajectory for a decade, continue to explode, up 108.2% to 19.2 million units from 9.2 million in the first six months of last year. Even CD sales, which have been on a downward slope for years, posted a 2.2% gain with 18.9 million units shifted. Changing consumer habits brought on by the pandemic directly led to the resurgence of interest in CDs and the meteoric rise of vinyl, it is widely believed.

Album downloads continued their decline, dropping 26.8% (to 12.92 million), while individual track sales dropped 20.3% (to 101.8 million). The vinyl surge and unexpected CD uptick were enough to overpower the digital drop in album sales, though, with total album sales (physical and digital combined) rising 12.6% to 51.26 million.

R&B/hip-hop, country and pop dominated the genre pie. You can see a few of the top artists by volume in the charts below:

Read more over at Billboard.

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