The Vinyl Records 'Fad' Has Been Going Strong for 12 Straight Years

12 years ago, vinyl records were an afterthought.  Now, they’re a brand-new industry.

Music industry moguls and audio experts alike never saw this coming.  But somewhere in the late 90s, audiophiles, die-hard music fans, and baby boomers felt like something was missing.  Several years later, they were suddenly buying the nostalgic format.

And the past 12 years have shown a surge in the sales vinyl records.  And according to just-released 2017 data, this isn’t slowing down.  According to Nielsen Music, 14.32 million Vinyl Records were sold in 2017, an increase 9 percent from the previous year.

That represents 8.5 percent all album sales in 2017, a 6.5 percent gain from 2016.  Furthermore, vinyl records posted a14 percent share all physical album sales in 2017 compared to 11 percent in 2016.

Vinyl records accounted for 14.3 percent all physical format sales in 2017, according to Nielsen.  That’s a brand-new record, at least for the modern music industry.

(There was also a 35% increase in cassette sales last year.  But more on that later.)

Indie stores spurred the revival, but major retailers are also one the reasons for the increasing sales. Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Urban Outfitters are major players in the surge its popularity.   But an army hundreds independent record stores also look forward to the Record Stores Day every year, which is like Christmas in vinyl retailing.


As for the breakdowns: 67 percent vinyl records sold in 2017 were Rock.  There were 77 different titles that sold over 20,000 copies in the same year. The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was the top-selling vinyl album in 2017, with Michael Jackson’s Thriller placing tenth.  Those are perennial big-sellers, though more titles are expected to hit the market this year.

And with that, here are the top 10 best-selling album sales from last year in the US.

  • The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (72,000 units)
  • The Beatles, Abbey Road (66,000)
  • Soundtrack: Guardians Of The Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1 (62,000)
  • Ed Sheeran, Divide (62,000)
  • Amy Winehouse, Back To Black (58,000)
  • Prince, Purple Rain (58,000)
  • Bob Marley & The Wailers, Legend (56,000)
  • Pink Floyd, Dark Side Of The Moon (54,000)
  • Soundtrack: La La Land (49,000)
  • Michael Jackson, Thriller (49,000)