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Music Streaming Up 15%, Vinyl Sales Double in First Half of 2021

2021 has been a banner year so far for record sales and audio music streams. Vinyl is up 109% so far in the United States.

Shopping for Albums at Cactus Records

The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the global economy and caused more than 4 million deaths in less than 19 months. The global lockdowns shuttered live music venues and movie theaters across the globe and completely changed how we consume movies and music. Live music is returning this summer and it’s starting to look like the pandemic’s long-term impact on the music industry has been negated by strong music sales. With hundreds of millions of people stuck at home on lockdown, audio music streams and vinyl sales went through the roof in 2020 and in the first half of 2021.

With the second part of Record Store Day 2021 about to commence this weekend, the sales figures for Q1 and Q2 2021 have been released and it’s very positive for the music labels.

On-demand overall streams in the United States grew by almost 11% to 553 billion streams in the first 1/2 of 2021 in comparison to the same 6 months in 2020 according to MRC Data. Within that data, audio music streams grew from 420 billion to 483 billion which is almost a 15% increase from 2020.

Global audio music streams increased over 27% to 1.296 trillion which is incredible news for Apple Music, Tidal, Qobuz, and Spotify.

Audio Music Streams versus Vinyl?

Those who think vinyl sales are slowing down will be shocked to hear that U.S. sales rose 108.2% so far in 2021 from 9.2 million records to 19.2 million for the first 6 months of 2021.

19.2 million new records in the U.S. alone so far in 2021. Yup.

CD sales trended upward for the first time in years with a modest 2.2% jump so far in 2021. Americans purchased more than 18.9 million new CDs so far this year. If you’re looking for a new CD player – we have some suggestions.

Physical media is dead. Not so fast.

If there is one negative in all of this positive sales news for vinyl, it is that the wait for some artists to have their music pressed and released is getting longer. Indie artists can’t be happy that this potential source of revenue is taking so long to get delivered in the hands of artists who need to make up the lost revenue from 2020.

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