According to BPI analysis based on Official Charts data, vinyl LP sales in the UK increased by 11.7 per cent in the first 51 weeks of 2023 to 5.9 million units, the highest annual level since 1990. This compares to the 2.9 per cent rise in vinyl sales in 2022.
Seven of the 10 biggest vinyl LP sellers during the period was a 2023 new release. The list was led by 1989 (Taylor’s Version) by Taylor Swift and also including her album Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) and albums by Blur (The Ballad Of Darren), Lana Del Rey (Did You Know There’s A Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd), Lewis Capaldi (Broken By Desire To Be Heavenly Sent), Kylie Minogue (Tension) and The Rolling Stones (Hackney Diamonds).
Additionally, more than 40 per cent of the 100 most-purchased vinyl LPs of 2023 were released in the past two years. They include albums by UK artists such as The 1975 (Being Funny In A Foreign Language), Depeche Mode (Memento Mori), Ed Sheeran (- and Autumn Variations), Gorillaz (Cracker Island), The Lathums (From Nothing To A Little Bit More), Liam Gallagher (Knebworth 22), Maisie Peters (The Good Witch), Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds (Council Skies), Royal Blood (Back To The Water Below) and Sleep Token (Take Me Back To Eden).
These were alongside big-selling vinyl releases by international artists, including Blink-182 (One More Time), Boygenius (The Record), Olivia Rodrigo (Guts), Paramore (This Is Why) and Queens Of The Stone Age (In Times New Roman), as well as the soundtracks to the Barbie and Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 movies.
In other parts of the physical music market, CD sales reported their lowest annual decline in nearly a decade, while cassette sales topped 100,000 units for a fourth consecutive year. Take That was the biggest selling CD act and Olivia Rodrigo was the lead on cassette.
The return of the HMV’s return to its original flagship in London Oxford St underscores the demand for music on physical formats.
Dr Jo Twist OBE, BPI Chief Executive, said: “Led by vinyl, the resurgence of physical product underlines the resilience of the UK music market at a time when streaming consumption continues to hit record levels. Whilst LP sales have now been on an upward path for the past 16 years, it is encouraging to see a stabilisation in demand for CD, as well as new generations of music fans falling in love with the cassette. It is giving people more choice than ever in how they enjoy their favourite music."
Increasingly, activity such as Record Store Day, which in April reported that its annual event had boosted vinyl sales by 122 per cent, and National Album Day – the annual celebration of the art of the album, organised jointly by the BPI and ERA – which grew vinyl LP sales on the day of the event by more than 50 per cent, plays its part in strengthening demand for physical albums. Further support for the physical format in 2023 came from increased distribution capacity, with Utopia Distribution Services and DP World opening a new warehouse for physical music in Bicester last August with a daily handling capacity of more than 100,000 units.