The Pandemic Has Been Very, Very Good for Vinyl Sales

Torry Threadcraft Torry Threadcraft is a writer who covers music, sports, and…
Photo Credit: Rich Fury/Getty Images for Coachella

Billboard reports nearly 2 million vinyl sales in the last week.

In a year that saw the live music industry decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic, vinyl sales have seen a major resurgence in America. On Tuesday, a Nielsen Music/MRC Data report corroborated recent projections. The report shows that in the last week, the United States saw a record-high week. In the week ending December 24, about 1.8 million vinyl records were purchased.

For the fourth time since 1991, vinyl album sales surpassed compact disc sales. Each of the four instances occurred in 2020. The record also includes numbers for independent record stores. In the same time frame, about 733,000 vinyl LPs were sold in the week ending with Christmas Eve.

The previous record sales high mark was set just a week before Christmas Eve (December 10-17), when 1.445 million vinyl records were sold. The new record is the biggest weekly sales mark since numbers were first counted in 1991.

The trend isn’t just happening in America: physical record sales in the United Kingdom are on pace to hit a three-decade high. The lack of concerts and live music appears to be inspiring fans to add to their record collections. After the physical music market declined by nearly half in March, the numbers began to soar when record stores reopened in June for the first time since lockdowns began. According to the RIAA, vinyl records contributed $232 million to the $376 million worth of physical music sales.

The best-selling physical album of the holiday season was McCartney III, by Beatles frontman Paul McCartney.

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