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Taylor Swift & Rolling Stones Propel UK Vinyl Sales to Highest Levels Since 1990

Photo by Eric Krull / Unsplash

Vinyl records have made a triumphant comeback this Christmas in the UK, reaching the highest weekly sales since the turn of the century. Artists such as Taylor Swift, Fleetwood Mac, and the Rolling Stones have been credited with driving this unexpected surge in popularity.

According to data released by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), vinyl sales in the UK have risen by 11.7% in 2023, reaching a total of 5.9 million units. This marks the 16th consecutive year of increasing sales for the classic format, with last week's sales alone exceeding 250,000 units, making it the most significant week of sales this century.

Leading the pack of vinyl best-sellers was Taylor Swift, whose re-recorded version of the 2014 album "1989" topped the charts. Other notable albums contributing to the vinyl resurgence included Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours," The Rolling Stones' "Hackney Diamonds," and classics from Pink Floyd and Abba Gold.

Vinyl's allure is attributed to its cover art, sleeve notes, and warmer sound compared to digital streaming. The trend has been further fueled by a new generation of music lovers embracing retro formats like LPs and cassettes.

Jo Twist, the chief executive of the BPI, highlighted the resilience of the UK music market, noting that while streaming consumption continues to hit record levels, the resurgence of physical products, led by vinyl, adds diversity to how people enjoy their favorite music.

Taylor Swift's strategic move to re-record her hit albums, a response to the acquisition of her earlier music rights by Scooter Braun in 2019, has played a significant role in boosting vinyl LP sales. Swift's "1989 (Taylor's Version)" and "Speak Now (Taylor's Version)" became bestsellers this year, solidifying her influence in both the recording and cinematic realms.

While the vinyl revival takes center stage, the decline in CD sales has slowed, with a 6.6% drop expected in 2023 compared to a 19.3% fall in the previous year. The market for physical formats, including vinyl, CDs, and cassettes, is expected to decline by just 1% this year, approaching stabilisation levels not seen since 2004.

The resurgence of vinyl isn't confined to the UK alone, as the United States also experienced the highest physical music sales in 11 years during the first half of 2023, according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Despite this, streaming services still dominate the global music market, contributing to 80% of recorded music consumption in the UK.

Official vinyl artists albums chart 2023

By Official Charts Company (up to chart week 51)                                                                          
1. Taylor Swift – 1989 (Taylor’s Version)

2. The Rolling Stones – Hackney Diamonds

3. Lana Del Rey –  Did You Know There’s A Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd

4. Taylor Swift – Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)

5. Fleetwood Mac – Rumours

6. Blur – The Ballad Of Darren

7. Pink Floyd – The Dark Side Of The Moon

8. Taylor Swift – Midnights

9. Olivia Rodrigo – Guts

10. Lewis Capaldi – Broken By Desire To Be Heavenly Sent

Read also: "Taylor Swift is on my song. Even if she doesn't know it" Interview with Posse Unit