Music fans in the U.S. purchased over 2.11 million vinyl albums in the week leading up to Christmas, marking the largest vinyl sales week since MRC Data began tracking music purchases in 1991. The last breakthrough sales week occurred in December of 2020, when listeners bought 1.84 million LPs.
Adele’s latest album, 30, accounts for 59,000 of the 2.11 million records sold ahead of Christmas. It’s the best-selling vinyl record of 2021, with at least 293,000 copies sold as of December 29th. And just to clarify, these figures only represent vinyl sales in the United States—global LP sales are probably much higher.
Clearly, the vinyl revival trend isn’t disappearing. Old-fashioned LPs are bigger than ever before, with new music resales from artists like Adele and Kid Cudi driving most sales. Of course, the actual number of album sales may be higher than what Billboard can report, as billions of records printed in the 20th century are still floating between collectors and music fans without help from traditional stores or online retailers.
Adele’s '30' is this year's best-selling vinyl album! https://t.co/sojED0RqJU
— billboard (@billboard) December 23, 2021
It’s also worth noting that LPs accounted for 50% of all music sales in the week leading up to December 23rd. And although we’re still waiting on official data, it seems vinyl may have outsold CDs this year, just as it did in 2020.
There are a ton of factors that account for 2021’s big vinyl boom, including the pandemic, which stopped tours and led to a glut of album releases in 2021. So many artists tried to print albums this year that vinyl pressing plants actually ran into production delays—without these delays, artists like Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, ABBA, and Elton John may have sold a lot more wax.
If you’re interested in shopping for vinyl, now’s the time to do it. Most new records get a vinyl release, classic albums are seeing limited-edition re-releases, and if you’re like me, you’ll have a ton of fun digging around for old records at pop-ups, storage units, and even warehouses. Check out our guide on beginners’ turntables to start your journey.