Sales of music CDs increased from 40.16 million units in 2020 to 40.59 million in 2021, according to a yearly report from music data compiler MRC Data and Billboard, marking the first time CD sales have increased year-over-year since 2004.
CDs weren’t the only old-fashioned music format that saw gains in 2021 — vinyl album sales volume increased a massive 50.4% year-over-year. Also in 2021, vinyl sales saw their single-largest sales week since 1991, when 2.11 million vinyl albums were sold the week of Dec. 23.
Boosts in physical music sales in a streaming-dominated music ecosystem can likely be attributed to a few big album releases, particularly by female artists. Adele, Taylor Swift and Olivia Rodrigo all sold heavy volume of physical CDs in 2021 as each artist released albums last year.
MacDailyNews Take: Despite this teeny increase in CD sales, music streaming on Apple Music, the No.1 service in the U.S., the world’s largest music market, and other like Spotify, Amazon Music, YouTube Music, Pandora, and other still dominate with U.S. on-demand audio streams surpassing the 20 billion weekly milestone for the first time this year. Music streaming on Apple Music and other hit a new single-year high of 988.1 billion streams in 2021 (up 12.6% from 877.2 billion in 2020).
The full MRC Billboard Year End Report U.S. 2021 is here.
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