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Change the record! Vinyl absolutely battered the Compact Disc in 2022

While streaming continues to completely dominated the music landscape, physical media is continuing its resurgence and vinyl is the new top dog.

In 2022, the near-100 year old format defeated CD sales for the first time in 35-years according to figures from the Recording Industry Association of America.

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The end-of-year round-up said sales of physical media rose by 4% during 2022, but vinyl did most of the heavy lifting with 71% of that revenue. Of course, records are generally more expensive than their compact disc counterparts, but the numbers don’t lie: 41 million vinyl records vs 33 million CDs.

If it weren’t for widepsread shortages – largely caused by Taylor Swift devouring the raw materials for umpteen Midnights pressings – the numbers may have been greater.

The report reads: “Revenues from physical music formats continued to grow after their remarkable resurgence in 2021. Total physical revenues of $1.7 billion were up 4% versus the prior year. Revenues from vinyl records grew 17% to $1.2 billion – the sixteenth consecutive year of growth – and accounted for 71% of physical format revenues. For the first time since 1987, vinyl albums outsold CDs in units (41 million vs 33 million). After a 2021 rebound versus the Covid impacted 2020, revenues from CDs fell 18% to $483 million in 2022.”

Image credit: RIAA

The “other” section in this equation is likely to be dominated by the cassette tape format, which appears to be over its little renaissance compared to a couple of years back when they were once again popular.

Elsewhere, the report once again saw a rise in people paying for music subscriptions, reaching 92 million in 2022, up from 84m in 2021. Growth does appear to be stalling a little now though, after larger year-on-year increases between 2018 and 2020.

Digital download revenue continued to fall and was down 20% in 2022.

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