It’s all about vinyl at the moment, it would seem, with one interesting knock-on effect of the pandemic being rocketing sales of LPs and audio cassettes this year, as a result of lockdown and spending so much time at home.
Figures from record labels’ association the BPI show that almost five million LPs were bought in the UK over the last year, a rise of almost a tenth on sales seen last year – and representing 13 years of consecutive growth since 2007.
Vinyl now makes up almost one in five of all purchased albums and have reached their highest level since the 90s. It also generates nearly twice as much in industry revenues as streaming platforms like YouTube, despite the fact that tens of billions of videos are watched annually.
This year’s bestsellers look set to be Rumours by Fleetwood Mac, Oasis’s (What’s The Story) Morning Glory?, Back to Black by Amy Winehouse and Nevermind by Nirvana. As for new studio albums, Harry Styles’ Fine Line, Disco by Kylie Minogue, Power Up by AC/DC and Ultra Mono by Idles look set to top the charts, as well.
Another interesting take away from the analysis is just how well audio cassettes are doing – a real blast from the past! It’s projected that about 157,000 tapes will have been bought in the last year, double that of 2019 and the highest it has been since 2003.
Most popular cassette releases were Lady Gaga’s Chromatica, 5 Seconds of Summer’s Calm, Yungblud’s Weird and the 1975’s Notes On A Conditional Form.
Chief executive of the BPI Geoff Taylor said: “In a year when all our lives have changed, music’s power to inspire has never been more evident. The immediacy and convenience of streaming make it the go-to audio format for most of our listening, but more and more fans choose to get closer to their favourite artists and albums on vinyl.
“It’s remarkable that LP and audio tape sales should have risen at all given the challenges we’ve all faced. The surge in sales despite retail closures demonstrates the timeless appeal of collectable physical formats alongside the seamless connectivity of streaming.”
What is still very much up in the air, naturally, is live music and it seems that live streams – which kept us going through lockdown after lockdown – are likely to become even more grand and ambitious than they already are.
In November, Dua Lipa’s Studio 2054 set the bar pretty high for live streamed events, with a concert that cost £1.1 million and which took five months to put together. It sold 284,000 tickets and agreed streaming deals in both India and China, so the concert was seen by over five million people worldwide!
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