CDs Were Outsold By Vinyl For First Time In 40 Years

When compact discs were announced as the best vehicle for music listening way back in the 1980s, it turned the music industry on its head. Although the quality was somewhat inferior to vinyl records, they were cheaper to manufacture and much smaller.

As music streaming services are becoming more popular, the sale of CDs has seen a steep decline. Which makes it rather unsurprising then that vinyl has sold more records than CDs for the first time in almost 40 years.

According to the RIAA’s mid-year report, 62 percent of all physical music sales came from vinyl.

“Vinyl album revenues of $232 million were 62% of total physical revenues, marking the first time vinyl exceeded CDs for such a period since the 1980’s, though it still only accounted for 4% of total music recorded music revenues,” the report noted.

Streaming music on the other hand grew by 12% in the first half of the year, making $4.8 billion in revenue.

“Paid subscription revenues grew 14% to $3.8 billion, and further increased their share as the largest contributor, accounting for 67% of total revenues for 1H 2020. They also accounted for 79% of total streaming revenues,” the report stated.

That also means that digital downloads declined as more people are opting to listen to music through streaming services.

“Digital download’s share of the market continued to decline in 1H 2020. The category’s share of total revenues fell from 8% to 6%. Revenues of $351 million were a 22% decline versus the first half of 2019. Individual track sales revenues were down 27% year-over-year, and digital album revenues declined 18%.”

RIAA Chairman and CEO Mitch Glazier said that while the findings of the report is good news, it also highlights just how much work still needs to be done.

“These are historically difficult times: the live music sector is shut down; studio recording is limited; and millions of Americans are out of work across the broader economy. While we’re pleased that the years of hard work and resources we’ve invested in streaming are driving growth in paid subscriptions, today’s report demonstrates just how much work remains to achieve a sustainably healthy music ecosystem for both music creators and fans,” he said in a statement.

[Photo by Florencia Viadana on Unsplash]

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