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Vinyl sales surpass CD sales for first time since 1987

A music industry report found that in total, physical products made up around $1.7 billion in revenue for the industry.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — For the first time since 1987, the number of vinyl albums sold has outnumbered CD sales. According to the Year-End 2022 Recording Industry Association of America Revenue Statistics report, there were around 41 million vinyl albums sold compared to 33 million CD albums sold.

They said that the number of CD albums sold fell by around 28% compared to the year before, while the number of vinyl albums sold grew by around 3%. It was the 16th consecutive year of growth for vinyl albums, according to the report.

"We knew the young people would finally catch up with us, and yeah, the sales have grown," said Maria Armstrong, the owner of Lost and Found Records. "We've fought with it for 30-something years to try to make it happen, and it's finally here."

The top-selling record last year was Midnights by Taylor Swift, according to RIAA. It was released on Oct. 21, 2022.

While vinyl album sales outpaced CD album sales in physical media, the report also found that streaming accounted for the majority of music revenues in 2022. Paid subscriptions, ad-supported services, digital radio, social media platforms, digital fitness apps and other kinds of digital services grew by 7% in 2022, generating around $13.3 billion in revenue.

According to the report, streaming services accounted for around 84% of total revenue in the industry. They said there were around 92 million subscriptions to streaming services, growing by 10% compared to the year before.

Revenues from digital downloads declined in 2022 as well, down by 20% to around $495 million. They said music downloads account for around 3% of industry revenues in 2022 — down from their peak in 2012 of 43%.

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