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Record Breaking! Vinyl Sales Grow To Highest Level In Three Decades

Vinyl sales grew to their highest level in more than three decades in 2021 as consumers turned to the format during the coronavirus pandemic.

More than five million vinyl albums were purchased in the UK over the past 12 months, up 8% on sales in 2020, according to figures from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).

This marks the 14th consecutive year of growth for the format since 2007.

It is also the highest total since the early 90s, when Phil Collins’ But Seriously was the biggest selling title.

Campaigns such as National Album Day, Record Store Day, The Record Club and Tim’s Twitter Listening Parties helped rally sales for independent record shops and specialist chains.

The end-of-year figures, released by industry body the BPI using Official Charts Company data, indicate vinyl albums now account for nearly a quarter of all albums purchased (23%).

The BPI expects to announce that classic albums Rumours by Fleetwood Mac and Back To Black by Amy Winehouse, reissued to coincide with National Album Day to mark its 15th anniversary, as among the year’s best-selling vinyl albums as part of its annual report.

Similarly, major 2021 releases including Abba’s Voyage, Adele’s 30, Sam Fender’s Seventeen Going Under, Ed Sheeran’s = and Wolf Alice’s Blue Weekend were projected to be among the year’s best sellers.

The report also forecasts that some 190,000 cassettes have been purchased in the past 12 months, up a fifth on 2020 and the highest number since 2003 when 243,000 tapes were sold and Now 54 was the biggest seller on the format.

This would mark the ninth year of consecutive growth for the format, which is now available on many major label album releases.

Olivia Rodrigo’s album Sour is predicted as the best selling cassette album of this year, alongside Dave’s We’re All Alone In This Together and Queen Greatest Hits.

Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the BPI, Brit Awards & Mercury Prize, said:

“It’s a great time to be a music fan, with wider choice on offer than ever before supported by great value.

“Thanks to record label investment into new music and talent, fans can purchase and collect the music they most love on vinyl, CD and even cassette, whilst also enjoying access to over 70 million songs to stream instantly whenever and how often they want, in turn enabling a new generation of artists to create music and sustain successful careers in a global market.”

The BPI will report its final music consumption figures on January 4 2022.