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Q Magazine

Vinyl Had Its Best Year Since 1990 in the UK

Lead by releases from Taylor Swift and Lana Del Rey, vinyl sales rose 11.7% in the UK over the past year.

Source: MEGA
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Even as streaming has long since overtaken physical media and MP3s as the world’s primary music source over the past decade, the resurgence of vinyl has continued to stand as a notable outlier. That trend continued with force in 2023, with year-end data from the British Phonographic Industry (the UK’s primary recorded music trade group) showing British vinyl sales were at their highest since 1990.

With healthy numbers for both new releases and old chestnuts, the Dec. 28 report noted that UK vinyl sales rose 11.7% year-over-year in 2023, with just under six million units sold. This is the 16th consecutive year that vinyl sales increased year-over-year, though sales rose more than four times faster in 2023 than in 2022, with last year’s increase at 2.9%. The report added that a quarter of a million vinyl albums were sold in just the last week.

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Source: MEGA

Lada Del Rey's 'Did You Know There's a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd' was the UK's No. 3 top vinyl seller.

Aside from the Christmas season, a key driver for that recent surge was undoubtedly Taylor Swift, whose 1989 (Taylor’s Version) was the UK’s top vinyl seller for the year. (Two other Swift albums, Midnights and Speak Now (Taylor’s Version), also landed on the year-end top 10.) She wasn’t the only contemporary artist in the top bracket, however, with Olivia Rodrigo’s Guts landing at No. 9, Lana Del Rey’s Did You Know There’s a Tunnel on Ocean Blvd showing strong at No. 3, and Lewis Capaldi’s Broken by Desire to Be Heaven Sent bringing up the rear at No. 10.

According to the BPI, 40% of the year’s top 100 sellers were released in the past two years. Catalogue sales still made up a huge portion of the market, however, with deathless 1970s albums like Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours and Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon both landing on the top 10. Reissues like De La Soul’s 3 Feet High and Rising and Oasis’ The Masterplan were also standout sellers.

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Source: MEGA

Fleetwood Mac's 'Rumours' was one of the top 10 vinyl sellers for the eighth year in a row in 2023.

Though streaming still makes up four fifths of UK music consumption, BPI chief executive Dr. Jo Twist highlighted the gains that 2023 had to offer, with even the humble cassette tape, long practically left for dead by the record industry, registering some small gains (Rodrigo’s Guts was the fastest-selling cassette of the year).

“Led by vinyl, the resurgence of physical product underlines the resilience of the UK music market at a time when streaming consumption continues to hit record levels,” Twist said. “Whilst LP sales have now been on an upward path for the past 16 years, it is encouraging to see a stabilization in demand for CD, as well as new generations of music fans falling in love with the cassette. It is giving people more choice than ever in how they enjoy their favorite music.”

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Source: MEGA

Olivia Rodrigo's 'Guts' was the year's top cassette tape seller.

Here are 2023’s best-selling vinyl albums in the UK:

1. Taylor Swift – 1989 (Taylor’s Version)

2. The Rolling Stones – Hackney Diamonds

3. Lana Del Rey – Did You Know There’s A Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd

4. Taylor Swift – Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)

5. Fleetwood Mac – Rumours

6. Blur – The Ballad Of Darren

7. Pink Floyd – The Dark Side Of The Moon

8. Taylor Swift – Midnights

9. Olivia Rodrigo – Guts

10. Lewis Capaldi – Broken By Desire To Be Heavenly Sent


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