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Album Consumption Data and Vinyl Sales Data Are Heading in Different Directions

2020 was vinyl’s best year since 2009. This, despite continued declines in overall sales for the album format…

By Paul Marszalek

According to the Coalition of Independent Music Stores, five of the best sales days for vinyl occurred in 2020 — even though the year was fraught with release date postponements, pandemic-driven store closures, and distribution gone sideways.

U.S. consumers grabbed 27.5 million vinyl units in 2020, creating a “hockey stick” growth chart.

Interestingly, this climb continues despite a continued plunge in overall sales for the album format.

The primary reason for the decline in physical album sales is consumers’ shift to streaming, which is track driven. But digging deeper, a secondary factor is the near-complete abandonment of the album format in genres such as hip-hop.

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