By the end of the year, vinyl could outsell CDs for the first time since 1986 (in the US, anyway).

The sales of compact discs have been in a death spiral for almost twenty years and no amount of pulling back on the stick will avoid crashing into the ground. Canadian sales are down 30% over a year ago. There’s no going back.

It’s the same in most territories around the planet, including the United States. In fact, US sales of CDs are declining so fast that the year-end number is likely to be less than that of vinyl.

Let me just say that again: Vinyl will probably generate more revenue than compact discs in the US this year. That hasn’t happened since 1986.

That’s an incredible development. Remember that vinyl had hit a trilobite extinction level back in 2007 before rebounding, posting double-digit growth for a decade. And until the Internet came along, CDs were considered to be musical storage perfection, a format that would be with us for decades to come.

But according to a just-released midyear report from the Recording Industry Association of America, CD sales are crating at three times the rate as vinyl sales were increasing. And since there’s no reason to believe that things will change throughout the balance of the year, vinyl will generate more money for the recording industry than CDs.

Anyone who might have predicted that such a thing might ever happen would be shouted down as insane. Strange, huh?

(Via Rolling Stone)

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

One thought on “By the end of the year, vinyl could outsell CDs for the first time since 1986 (in the US, anyway).

  • September 8, 2019 at 5:08 pm

    Hey Alan, I thought I remember hearing you say a month or more back on your radio hour that vinyl had already, no? Maybe it was for a specific peroid?


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