The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has confirmed a music trend they projected in September. U.S. vinyl records outsold compact discs last year for the first time since 1986 according to the trade organization’s 2020 Year-End Music Industry Revenue Report.
Sales of vinyl LPs and EPs grew 28.7% to total $619.6 million in 2020, according to the snapshot. That was $136 million more than was spent in the same year on CDs, which declined in retail sales by 23% to $483 million. As a whole, physical sales of music have remained nearly identical at $1.1 billion per year since 2018.
Streaming is still king in the modern recording landscape, accounting for 83% of the $12.2 billion total recorded music revenues. 2020 saw paid subscriptions increase by 14.6% to $7 billion, and those of limited-tier services up 13.4% to $724 million per the RIAA. Physical sales accounted for 9% of total revenues, with digital downloads at 6% and synch at 2%.
The figures line up with those of Discogs, who published its own 2020 mid-year and year-end reports. The database and marketplace sold nearly 12 million vinyl records on their platform last year – 40.75% more than in 2019.
Owing to the upset are the closures of retail locations where CDs were normally purchased due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Interest in online vinyl purchases trended the opposite direction in 2020. Discogs’ user base grew by 1,229,384 last year, 20% more than registered on the site for the first time in 2019.
The 2020 Year-End Music Industry Revenue Report is available in full on the RIAA website.