Vinyl records are back and more popular than ever. A new report found that vinyl record sales continued their more than decade-long growth in 2022, and for the first time in more than three decades, outsold CDs in the number of units.
The report, published by the Recording Industry Association of America on Thursday, found that physical formats of music saw another year of overall growth in 2022, totaling $1.7 billion. Making up nearly three-quarters of that growth were vinyl records, which saw a 17% increase in revenues for $1.2 billion. This marked the product's 16th year of consecutive growth, RIAA said.
It also marked the first time since 1987 that more vinyl records were sold than CDs, which saw a revenue decline of 18% in 2022. The group said that 41 million vinyl albums were sold last year, compared to 33 million CDs.
But physical copies continued to do better than digital downloads, which once again saw a decline in revenues. Digital downloads were once a stronghold of the industry, having once made up 43% of recorded music revenues in 2012. But 10 years later, that makeup has dropped to just 3%, the report found.
Even still, it was an overall positive year for recorded music, growing about 6% from 2021 to nearly $16 billion in retail and $10.3 billion in wholesale.
In a post on Medium, RIAA Chairman and CEO Mitch Glazier said that last year's numbers show that vinyl is "cementing its role as a fixture of the modern music marketplace."
"Music lovers clearly can't get enough of the high-quality sound and tangible connection to artists vinyl delivers," Glazier said, "and labels have squarely met that demand with a steady stream of exclusives, special reissues, and beautifully crafted packages and discs."