UK vinyl revenue to overtake CDs in 2021 according to British Phonographic Industry

(Image credit: Elipson)

Record collectors rejoice! Vinyl revenues in the UK are expected to overtake those of CDs in 2021, according to the British Phonographic Industry (BPI)'s response to a new Official Charts report.

Working from this Official Charts Company data, the BPI has revealed that UK music industry revenues rose 3.8 per cent in 2020, reaching nearly £1.12 billion – the highest total in 14 years. 

The UK trend echoes the RIAA's year-end report on the state of the US music industry – which showed that US revenue from vinyl sales have overtaken that of CDs for the first time in 35 years.

Sales of the classic record format in the US have increased consistently since 2006, but last year it saw its biggest single week since electronic sales tracking began (in 1991), with 1.841 million vinyl albums sold in the week ending 24th December, according to the MRC data.

Back to Blighty then – it is British Hi-Fi Week after all – and despite (or perhaps owing to) the nationwide UK lockdown resulting in the nixing of all live gigs, vinyl revenues increased 30.5 per cent year-on-year to £86.5 million (the highest total since 1989) which helped the music industry offset an 18.5 per cent decline in CD sales – although said sales still amounted to an imposing £115 million.

And the headline grabber now is that BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor predicts industry income from vinyl will outperform CD for the whole of 2021 in the UK.

"Vinyl’s exceptional performance despite retail lockdowns confirms its role as a long-term complement to music streaming. 2021 is likely to be the year in which revenues from LPs overtake those from CDs for the first time in well over three decades – since 1987," he said, adding, "In addition to the immediacy and convenience of streaming, fans want to get closer to the artists they love by owning a tangible creation". 

UK sales of vinyl jumped by 11.5 per cent year-on-year to 4.8 million in 2020, marking the 13th consecutive year of growth – all of this despite physical retail store closures across the country in line with coronavirus restrictions. And it's the fifth consecutive year of growth for the British recorded music industry – the healthiest number since £1.166 billion was generated in 2006.

Want to start collecting vinyl? Congratulations, there's never been a better time wherever you are. Have a gander at our feature entitled where to buy vinyl: affordable ways to start a record collection, our advice on how to build the perfect sound system and most of all, enjoy the process. 


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Becky has been a full-time staff writer at What Hi-Fi? since March 2019. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, she freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 20-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance is of course tethered to a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo, This is Cabaret and The Stage. When not writing, she dances, spins in the air, drinks coffee, watches football or surfs in Cornwall with her other half – a football writer whose talent knows no bounds.