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Vinyl sales overtake CDs for the first time in 35 years

For the first time since 1987, vinyl has outsold CDs as interest in the format continues to grow.

The growth has been continuous for the past seven years. According to the Recording Industry Association of America, vinyl sales in the U.S. will reach 41.3 million in 2022, up from 33.4 million records sold in the same year.

“I’ve always been a fan of physical media, especially vinyl. It’s really nice to see so many people coming back to it,” Ian Fraser, owner of Obsolete Records in Halifax, told CTV National News. “I definitely think people wanted to get into something new or into a new collection that they could spend their money on and really enjoy.”

Interest in vinyl has boomed since the pandemic began. In 2020, vinyl sales increased by 28 percent over the previous year, and in 2021, sales increased by another 68.8 percent.

“I’ve got a really great clientele of super young kids getting into it and older people getting back into it … Everyone’s just excited to collect,” Fraser said.

These numbers still pale in comparison to streaming, which accounts for 84 percent of the music industry’s sales. But enthusiasts say nothing beats the unique sound quality, look and feel of owning a vinyl record.

“I think it’s kind of a way for people to connect with their favorite artist. Also, it’s part of someone’s identity,” Tom Spence, owner of Dartmouth-based Renegade Records, told CTV National News.

Artists make less than a penny per stream, but with this vinyl renaissance of new and older artists, experts say record sales will only increase, translating into more fan support for the artist.

“They’re adding different songs that are only available on vinyl. In fact, Taylor Swift’s ‘Midnights’ album surprisingly sold more copies than The Beatles and Fleetwood Mac combined,” music industry expert Eric Alper told CTV National News.

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