Report: Vinyl Still Strong as US Album Sales Hit Historic Low

Wax keeps a steady pace amidst industry-wide coronavirus shutdowns.

With the music industry (and virtually all others) currently shuddering in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak, album sales are taking an equally historic dive.

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According to a report from Billboardboth digital and physical album sales have plummetted 29% to their lowest point since Neilson began tracking music purchases in 1991. Billboard estimates the 1.52 million equivalent albums sold in the week ending on March 19th to be the smallest weekly total reported since the album became a format in the mid-60s. Physical sales alone dipped below 1 million copies for the first time since Neilson began recording, dropping 36% to just 979,000.

READ: Vinyl Sales Projected to Surpass CDs for The First Time in More Than 30 Years

And while (most of) the numbers are far from encouraging, one stat remains steady. The report notes, even as many record stores have closed in compliance with COVID-19 protocols, vinyl sales remain afloat for the year. To date, vinyl sales are up 42.2% from this point in 2019 with 4.88 million units sold on the year, accounting for 33% of physical units sold and 22.6% of all albums sold.

The report does not specify how the vinyl market was affected during last week’s hit. But if reliable boons like Record Store Day and flea markets are out of commission until further notice, it’s hard to imagine how the streak would survive.



Zo is a staff writer at Okayplayer where he covers music.

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