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Vinyl outsells CDs for the first time since the 80s

Vinyl outsells CDs for the first time since the 80s
(Image credit: https://pxhere.com/en/photo/983277)

Break out your crimpers and Transformers collection, records have outsold CDs in the US for the first time since the 1980s.

Despite physical media sales dropping by 23 percent in the first half of 2020, compared to the previous year, vinyl continues to buck the trend with a rise in sales of 2.3 percent. That may not sound like much but, compared to the drop in CDs by 43.2 percent, and in the face of the pandemic, that's a positive bonanza for the groovy plastic disc.

According to RIAA, total music sales (digital and physical) still managed a climb of 7 percent overall in the face of the closure of music retail outlets, music venues and the cancellation of festivals and other music-based gatherings all over the world. That's a slight slow down compared to 2019's 9 percent growth but certainly nothing dramatic.

As for the humble LP/EP, sales so far in 2020 total an impressive 8.8 million records in the US at a value of $232.1m. To do CDs their dues, there were more units shipped (10.2 million) but sales were only $129.9m. Let's see how long before that record falls.

Dan is a staff writer at What Hi-Fi? and his job is with product reviews as well as news, feature and advice articles too. He works across both the hi-fi and AV parts of the site and magazine and has a particular interest in home cinema. Dan joined What Hi-Fi? in 2019 and has worked in tech journalism for over a decade, writing for Tech Digest, Pocket-lint, MSN Tech and Wareable as well as freelancing for T3, Metro and the Independent. Dan has a keen interest in playing and watching football. He has also written about it for the Observer and FourFourTwo and ghost authored John Toshack's autobiography, Toshack's Way.