Vinyl sales made more than downloads last week
- 6 December 2016
- From the section Entertainment & Arts
More money was spent on vinyl than downloaded albums last week, for the first time.
Vinyl sales made the record industry £2.4m, while downloads took in £2.1m, the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) said.
It marks a big shift in music consumption. In the same week last year, vinyl albums made £1.2m while digital ones made £4.4m.
Downloads have been in sharp decline as consumers switch to streaming services.
The ERA has suggested the surge in vinyl sales could be attributed to the popularity of vinyl as a Christmas gift and the growing number of retailers - including supermarkets such as Sainsbury's and Tesco - which now stock vinyl.
"This is yet further evidence of the ability of music fans to surprise us all," said ERA chief Kim Bayley.
"It's not so long ago that the digital download was meant to be the future. Few would have predicted that an album format, first invented in 1948 and based on stamping a groove into a piece of plastic, would now be outselling it in 2016."
However, it is worth noting that vinyl albums are priced much higher than downloads. Last week's biggest-selling vinyl was Kate Bush's triple-disc live album Before The Dawn, which retails at £52. A download of the same recording is available for £12.
All of which means that downloads are still the more popular product. According to the ERA, 120,000 vinyl albums were sold last week, compared with 295,000 digital ones.
Nonetheless, the "vinyl revival" has been one of the most surprising success stories of the digital music era.
The format has now shown eight consecutive years of growth since facing near extinction in 2007, although it still represents less than 2% of the overall music market.
Earlier this year, a BBC/ICM poll found that people who listened to music on streaming services were more likely to buy vinyl - often as a goodwill gesture to an artist they loved.
But 48% of those surveyed said they did not play the vinyl they bought - while 7% did not even own a turntable.