Vinyl Could Outsell CDs for the First Time Since 1986

Vinyl Could Outsell CDs for the First Time Since 1986
Photo: Lindsey Blane
Vinyl records are on pace to outsell CDs for the first time in over 30 years in the U.S., according to the Recording Industry Association of America.

As shown in the RIAA's mid-year revenue report [via Rolling Stone] published yesterday (September 5), vinyl record sales earned a total of $224.1 million USD (8.6 million units) in the first half of 2019. By comparison, CD sales in the U.S. generated $247.9 million USD (18.6 million units).

The report notes that vinyl revenue rose 12.8 percent in the second half of 2018, and 12.9 percent in the first six months of 2019. Revenue numbers of CDs in that time period barely moved. Should the trend continue, vinyl could gross more than compact discs come the end of this year.

While the love for wax is undeniable, streaming still stands as the most dominant form of music consumption right now. Vinyl accounted for only 4 percent of total revenues in the first half of this year, while paid subscriptions to streaming services accounted for 62 percent.

Earlier this year, the 12th annual Record Store Day resulted in the third-largest sales week for vinyl albums since Nielsen Music began tracking sales in 1991.