Vinyl sales in the US are up more than 20% in the first six months of 2023.
23.6 million LPs have been sold in the first half of the year, up from 19.4 million sold in the same period of 2022, according to California-based entertainment industry data and insights company Luminate's mid-year report. That's an increase of 21.7%. Overall physical album sales are up 13.3% so far this year, with 41.5 million physical copies sold from January to June 2023 over 2022's 36.7 million.
Direct-to-consumer vinyl sales, or from an artist's own webstore and not via a third-party retailer, are highlighted for growing more than 26% so far this year with 2.6 million sales. The report says 1-in-9 vinyl sales are made from direct-to-consumer platforms, and wax holds the edge in this category over CD and cassette sales. Direct-to-consumer sales are more often of new and current music versus catalogue albums, unlike other sectors like streaming.
Taylor Swift, Lana Del Rey, Tyler, The Creator and boygenius account for the top vinyl sales of new music, joined by Fleetwood Mac's classic 'Rumours'.
Additional data points from Luminate's report: US-based K-pop, Afrobeats and EDM fans are highly likely to spend more money on music, tickets and merch per month than the average US music fan; Gen Z is the top buyer of vinyl and cassettes, with Gen X leading on CD sales and overall physical music sales; overall, gig tickets are the most popular music purchase for general music listeners.
The rise in vinyl's decades-high popularity has not translated to widespread success for all record distributors and retailers — much of Luminate's data focuses on major label artists and sales and mainstream names. Earlier this month, independent UK distributor Unearthed Sounds announced it would be shutting down at the end of July, due in part to the rising costs of pressing vinyl and the environmental implications of the medium. For more on the seemingly inevitable busting of the wax bubble, revisit journalist Will Pritchard's in-depth feature from 2021.
Last week, a Taylor Swift fan went viral after discovering that her vinyl copy of 'Speak Now (Taylor's Version)' was mispressed with a compilation of rare '90s UK electronic music.
Read Luminate's mid-2023 report in full here.