Americans are buying more vinyl than CDs for the first time in decades

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MARCH 05: Vinyl records are displayed in a store in New York. (Photo by SPENCER PLATT / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

Vinyl records have continued to turn their retro appeal into a steady resurgence, the first time since 1987 that CD sales in the United States have surpassed CD sales the previous year.

Physical record revenue jumped four percent in 2022 to $1.7 billion, according to the Recording Industry Association of America’s latest report released Thursday.

Consumers purchased 41 million vinyl records last year compared to 33 million CDs, a stunning reversal.

The popularity of vinyl has grown steadily in recent years, fueled by collectors and fans nostalgic for the warm crackle that comes from the A and B sides.

According to a 2020 report, physical record revenue has already begun to outstrip CD sales, but for the first time in over three decades, more vinyl records have been sold than their compact counterparts.

However, streaming remains king, with services including paid subscriptions and ad-supported platforms growing 7% to reach a record $13.3 billion in revenue, accounting for 84% of the total.

Paid subscriptions make up the lion’s share, accounting for 77 percent of streaming revenue and surpassing $10 billion for the first time.

The RIAA said 92 million people are currently paying subscribers to the streaming service, up from 84 million a year earlier.

According to the RIAA, total record revenues rose for the seventh consecutive year by six percent to a record high of $15.9 billion.