Vinyl and Cassette Sales Continued to Grow Last Year

Vinyl records and cassettes were at the top for physical album sales in 2018. (Photo by: Gonzales Photo/Malthe Ivarsson/PYMCA/Avalon/UIG via Getty Images).
PYMCA UIG via Getty Images

Albums sold on vinyl and cassette both saw a growth in sales according to BuzzAngle Music’s End-Year Report profiling U.S. music industry consumption for 2018.

Vinyl sales grew by just shy of 12% from 8.6 to 9.7 million sales, while cassette sales grew by almost 19% from 99,400 to 118,200 copies sold in the US, The Verge reported.

Sixty-six percent of those vinyl sales were of albums that are more than three years old and feature classic bands like The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, and Pink Floyd, reported BuzzAngle. Cassettes saw popularity in newer releases.

CDs on the other hand have declined by 18.5% in popularity leading to a total decline in physical album sales of over 15%, reported The Verge. Meanwhile, audio streaming saw an increase of 41.8%, the largest of all music consumption.

In addition to millennials reviving the vinyl industry, the sales are seeing another trend: musical diversity. Rolling Stone reported that while 65% of vinyl album sales fell into the rock genre three years ago, that figure was 54% in 2017 and 42% in 2018—meaning the bulk of vinyl albums last year were actually in categories like pop (26%) and urban/hip-hop (14.4%).

These were the 20 top-selling vinyl albums of 2018, according to BuzzAngle, as pointed out by Rolling Stone:

  1. Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1 (Various Artists)
  2. Thriller (Michael Jackson)
  3. Abbey Road (The Beatles)
  4. Rumours (Fleetwood Mac)
  5. Purple Rain (Prince & The Revolution)
  6. Back to Black (Amy Winehouse)
  7. Love Is Here to Stay (Tony Bennett & Diana Krall)
  8. Greatest Hits I (Queen)
  9. The Dark Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd)
  10. Legend (Bob Marley & The Wailers)
  11. American Teen (Khalid)
  12. The Greatest Showman: Original Soundtrack (Various Artists)
  13. Chronicle – 20 Greatest Hits (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
  14. Divide (Ed Sheeran)
  15. Nevermind (Nirvana)
  16. Man of the Woods (Justin Timberlake)
  17. DAMN. (Kendrick Lamar)
  18. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Band (The Beatles)
  19. Ultimate Sinatra (Frank Sinatra)
  20. good kid, m.A.A.d city (Kendrick Lamar)
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