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UK vinyl sales at the highest level since 1990

  • By Daniel Thomas
  • Business reporter

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Taylor Swift has 3 albums in the top selling vinyl records in the UK this year

Vinyl LP sales in the UK have reached their highest level since 1990 as the revival of the physical music market continues.

According to trade group the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), sales rose 11.7% to 5.9 million units, up for the 16th consecutive year.

Taylor Swift’s 1989 (Taylor’s Version) is the best-selling LP, followed by the Rolling Stones’ Hackney Diamonds.

Cassette sales also performed well, reaching 100,000 units for the fourth consecutive year.

While more than four-fifths of recorded music is consumed through streaming, vinyl has made a strong comeback, with fans seeing it as more collectible and with better sound quality. .

The BPI, the trade body for the UK music industry, said the popularity of independent record stores and the revival of specialist music store chain HMV had also helped.

New releases dominate the list of best-selling vinyl albums, with Ed Sheeran, Lewis Capaldi and Lana Del Rey also in the top 10.

However, classic albums and reissues are also among the top performers, including Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors and Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon (Live At Wembley 1974).

Taylor Swift has three albums in the top 10 best-selling full-length albums in the UK this year – 1989, Speak Now and Midnights.

Speak Now and 1989 are both re-recordings and part of an ongoing campaign to regain control of her work, after an investment company bought her master tapes in 2019.

Last year, she told the BBC’s Graham Norton Show: “I recorded my first six albums because one thing that happened was that I wanted to own my first six albums when I changed record labels. .

“My first six albums were actually sold out and so I decided, I just thought if I did them the first time I could do them again.”

Avid vinyl fan Andy Smithson, 56, still has his 1979 Technics player which he says is “in perfect condition”. Mr. Smithson said he was attracted to what he called the “visual aspect” of the record.

“If the music is rubbish, you’re still left with a good piece of art,” he says, sifting through a rack of 45 in Hull’s Trinity Market. “There’s nothing like a record in terms of quality. It has a richer sound. Downloads don’t have the same appeal.”

image source, Kevin Shoesmith/BBC

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Andy Smithson said he was attracted to the “visual aspect” of vinyl

Top 10 best-selling vinyl albums of 2023

  • Taylor Swift – 1989 (Taylor’s version)
  • The Rolling Stones – Hackney Diamonds
  • Lana Del Rey – Did You Know There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Avenue
  • Taylor Swift – Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)
  • Fleetwood Mac – Rumors
  • Blur – Darren’s ballad
  • Pink Floyd – Dark side of the moon
  • Taylor Swift – Midnight
  • Olivia Rodrigo – Guts
  • Lewis Capaldi – Shattered by heaven-sent wishes

BPI said cassette tape sales are also growing again after fading in the early 1990s, while the decline in CD sales has begun to slow, “plateauing” at a maximum of 11 million units. in 2023.

Take That’s This Life was the year’s best-selling CD, while Olivia Rodrigo’s Guts was the best-performing cassette.

Back in 1990, Phil Collins’s …But Serious was the best-selling album, followed by Madonna’s The Immaculate Collection.

A live album by three tenors – José Carreras, Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti – was the third biggest, followed by The Very Best of Elton John and Michael Bolton’s Soul Provider.

Commenting on this year, BPI boss Dr Jo Twist said: “Led by vinyl, the resurgence of physical products underlines the resilience of the UK music market at a time when Streaming consumption continues to reach record levels.

“While LP sales have currently been trending upward over the past 16 years, it is encouraging to see steady demand for CDs as well as new generations of music fans embracing cassettes. That giving people more choices.” more than ever in the way they enjoy their favorite music.”


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