Vinyl Record sales climb again in U.S.A. despite physical sales drop – Neilsen

Vinyl remains king in 2017…

That big black wheel just keeps on turning… Industry metric stalwart Neilsen (perhaps known best for their television-rating numbers, but also for powering Billboard chart numbers) published their 2017 Year End Music Report for the United States. The report showed that 14.3 million LPs were sold in the U.S. – a nine per cent increase over 2016 – compared to a 19.6 per cent drop in digital album sales, and a 16.5 per cent fall in physical album sales. If you do the math it seems like the analog engine that precipitated all those barn-find restorations of LP pressing machines is still on-track .

The top sales spots were taken by The Beatles with Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club and Abbey Road, followed by Guardians Of The Galaxy Awesome Mix 1 Soundtrack, and Ed Sheeran’s Divide. Michael Jackson’s Thriller, and Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black also made the top 10.

According to the report, when you break down the numbers “The holiday rush of the fourth quarter may still rule for physical CD sales, but other formats show notable spikes throughout the year. Vinyl, for instance, showed its highest surges in the second and fourth quarters thanks to the nationwide Record Store Days in April and November…”

The report also showed that digital-streaming numbers (vs. downloads) remained strong, saying “Streaming continued its leadership over downloads as the dominant music consumption platform of 2017, fueling the music industry’s overall volume growth of 12.5% year over year. The increase was led by a 58.7% increase in On-Demand Audio streams compared to 2016.”

–Rafe Arnott




About Rafe Arnott 389 Articles
Editor of InnerFidelity and AudioStream


  1. I am 59 years old. When I was a kid albums were around $8. Then when I was in my twenties they were around $12. The delta of price changes over time is such that for a record album to cost $20-$36 today is actually one of the best deals around. This is also true for a $50 45rpm album. That $50 has roughly the same value as $12 40 years ago but the today’s premium vinyl record is vastly superior. As a comparison my friend bought a brand new McIntosh 225 in the 1960s for $250. My dad bought a new Camero for $4k.
    It’s not that stuff has become expensive, it’s that money decreases in value over time.

  2. Great LPs are selling well but I wonder who exactly is doing the buying? I just saw Target started carrying LPs now but the cheapest one was $20 USD. The most expensive record was $38 for a full album. Who has got the money to spend this much per LP?

  3. Awesome news, spent the whole day in snowy NYC listening to loads of vinyl on my SME 10 and Linn LP12. Downloads? Streaming? Luddites like myself love the physical media that is vinyl. Happy New Year Rafe!

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