The resurgent vinyl market isn't showing any signs of slowing down. In fact, recent figures released by Nielsen SoundScan indicate that overall U.S. vinyl sales will once again set a benchmark in 2009, with sales up 50% through the first five months of the year.
SoundScan predicts vinyl sales will reach 2.8 million units in 2009, up from 1.9 million in 2008, a record since SoundScan began tracking sales data in 1991. Already in 2009, vinyl sales have topped 1 million. At this point last year, vinyl sales stood at 701,000 copies. To be fair, the number is still tiny compared to overall album sales.
Vinyl, SoundScan points out, accounts for less than 1% of overall album sales. In other words, vinyl sales represent about six months in the life of Taylor Swift
, whose late 2008 release, "Fearless," has already sold more than 3.3 million copies. To date in 2009, 121.8 million CDs have been sold, versus 33.2 million digital albums, compared to 151.01 million CDs and 27.52 digital albums for the same period last year.
Yet vinyl appears to be a niche market that's here to stay, and one that's showing signs of expansion. Rock albums account for 70% of all vinyl sold, but country vinyl is enjoying a growth spurt. Year-to-date country vinyl sales are already at 15,000 copies, compared with 5,000 for the comparable period in 2008.
Of course, if someone wants to rain on the vinyl good news, there's this stat: Vinyl sales were up 90% in 2008 over 2007, and the rate of growth has certainly slowed.
-- Todd Martens
Photo: Origami Vinyl in Echo Park. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times