Fashion trends aren’t the only thing making a comeback because in 2021, CD sales saw their first increase in nearly 17 years. Seriously, CDs are cool again, and according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), music fans bought almost 46.6 million disks in 2021.
Obviously, 46 million CDs sold is nothing near the 800 million from back in 2004, when we saw the last increase in sales, but it’s a significant number for today’s standards.
While streaming services dominate, physical music continues to gain momentum. In fact, vinyl sales reached their highest point in 2020, for the first time since 1991, and briefly passed the sale of CDs. However, in 2021 we also saw a huge jump for physical CDs, which is fascinating. I don’t know about you, but I need to go find my old shockproof and skip-free CD player.
The sheer volume of sales is nothing near where it was in the early 2000s, but it’s interesting to see sales increase in 2021 instead of decrease. These latest numbers by the RIAA match reports from earlier this year by MRC Data, which went on to explain part of what’s driving the spike in sales.
While we don’t necessarily know why sales are up, we know who is driving the push. According to Billboard, Adele is the primary reason, not to mention getting help from Taylor Swift, BTS, and more.
Adele’s latest LP, titled 30, was the top-selling record for all digital platforms and across all physical music formats. In 2021, Adele’s 30 album sold nearly 900,000 copies on disk. Then, the “Taylor’s Version” of Taylor Swift’s popular hits saw enormous success, and more of those are on the way.
When you combine the increase of vinyl over the last two decades with this bump in CDs, physical music as a whole is up in sales for the first time since 1996. I understand why vinyl is popular, as they offer a distinct sound, but CDs don’t. But hey, at least you can enjoy the album artwork.
via The Verge