December 8, 2009 / 7:53 PM / 10 years ago

FACTBOX: How vinyl record sales stack up

(Reuters) - CD sales are off 13 percent in 2009 heading into the lucrative holiday shopping season, after a 20 percent annual drop in 2008 from the year before, but sales of vinyl records are bucking that trend.

Vinyl record sales reached 1.9 million units in 2008 and are on track to sell nearly 2.8 million units in 2009, according to industry tracker Nielsen SoundScan. Those numbers account only for stores that report to Nielsen and not smaller record shops or albums sold at concerts.

Though vinyl record sales have momentum, they still make up only 1 percent of total album sales tracked by Nielsen SoundScan. Following are some facts about vinyl records. Sales for individual albums and artists in 2009 are incomplete, so data covers 2008.


- Rock and alternative albums account for the most vinyl record sales, but other genres have shown growth, too.

- Rock and alternative are each up just under 60 percent this year over last, while electronic (31 percent), rap (23 percent) and R&B (18 percent) are showing more modest gains.

- Sales of LPs in country and gospel in 2009 are each up 200 percent from this time last year

- Jazz and hard rock are up 150 percent and 106 percent year-to-date respectively.

- Sales of Latin vinyl records are flat compared to this point last year, while soundtrack sales are down 7 percent.


- In 2008, slightly fewer than 13,000 vinyl records sold at least one copy, while nearly 400 sold at least 1,000 copies and accounted for 50 percent of total vinyl sales. Here are the five best-selling vinyl records in 2008.

1. Radiohead — In Rainbows: 25,800 copies sold

2. The Beatles — Abbey Road: 16,500 copies sold

3. Guns N’ Roses — Chinese Democracy: 13,600 copies sold

4. The B-52s — Funplex: 12,800 copies sold

5. Portishead — Third: 12,300 copies sold


- The top five best-selling artists on vinyl in 2008 were a mix of those who released new albums that year, like Radiohead and Guns N’ Roses, and catalog artists like the Beatles with popular older releases. These ten artists sold 225,000 LPs in 2008, or 13 percent of all vinyl sold that year.

1. Radiohead: 61,000 copies sold

2. Metallica: 40,000 copies sold

3. Beatles: 20,000 copies sold

4. Elliot Smith: 18,000 copies sold

5. Bob Dylan: 15,000 copies sold

(Source: Nielsen SoundScan)

Reporting by Terri Coles; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte

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