- 03 Jan 17
Record sales recently hit a 25-year high, with albums from Bowie and other dearly departed artists contributing to the high number of sales.
As the BPI reports, 3.2 million LPs were sold in 2016, the highest number since 1991. Part of the rise in sales can sadly be attributed to the artists who passed away this year, as their albums have once again gained popularity after their deaths. David Bowie has become the top-selling artist in vinyl following his death, with his final album Blackstar winning the title of most popular album of the year, and four more of his albums making it to the top 30 list. According to Geoff Taylor, the chief executive of BPI, "Led by sales of David Bowie, demand for vinyl jumped to levels not seen since the start of the 90s."
Though vinyl is definitely making a comeback, streaming music is still the more popular form of listening, with 44.9 billion audio streams in 2016, up 67.5 percent from the last year. According to Vanessa Higgins, the CEO of Regent Street and Gold Bar Records, the popularity of streaming doesn't mean that millennials are going to turn away from more classic forms of music listening, rather, she predicts that the popularity of vinyl will only continue to grow. “People think millennials just stream and are just digital but actually I think we are going to see increasingly over this coming year that young people still want something tangible and real, and that’s where vinyl is taking on the role that the CD used to have.” Streaming is only a way for listeners to close in on the music that they want to be listening to in a more tangible form, she explains. "They are finding music through streaming and if they love it, they are going out and investing in it in a physical format.”
Though the most popular artists in vinyl seem to be more classic artists, that doesn't mean that more modern bands can't get into the vinyl game. With clothing retailers such as Urban Outfitters selling vinyl as well, bands like the 1975, whose first album was the highest selling record at Urban Outfitters in 2015, can release their music to a younger audience specifically in vinyl format. Jamie Oborne, manager of the 1975, says, “There’s been this cultural shift where people are willing to pay for music again which is brilliant. We now sell a ton of vinyl and the margins on vinyl are huge so it is really a significant source of revenue for us.”
The top-ten vinyl albums of 2016 were:
1) David Bowie: Blackstar
2) Amy Winehouse: Back To Black
3) Various Artists: Guardians of the Galaxy: Mix 1
4) Radiohead: A Moon Shaped Pool
5) Fleetwood Mac: Rumours
6) Stone Roses: Stone Roses
7) Bob Marley: Legend
8) The Beatles: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
9) Prince: Purple Rain
10) Nirvana: Nevermind