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Vinyl records outsell CDs for the first time since 1986

Yep, the last time the vinyl record medium outsold CDs was 34 years ago—the year ‘Top Gun’ and ‘Crocodile Dundee’ came out.

Vinyl records outsell CDs for the first time since 1986
[Photo: Florencia Viadana/Unsplash]

This year has been topsy-turvy and upside down for so many reasons. So it’s probably little surprise that something else you never would have thought would happen happened, too: Vinyl records have outsold compact discs for the first time in 34 years, reports Bloomberg.

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Yep, the last time the vinyl record medium outsold CDs was way back in 1986–the year Top Gun and Crocodile Dundee came out. That’s according to numbers for the first half of 2020 released by the Recording Industry Association of America. In the first six months of 2020, consumers spent $232.1 million on vinyl while only spending $129.9 million on CDs. To put vinyl’s resurgence into perspective, back in 2005 vinyl sales hit an all-time low of just $14.2 million.

As for the most popular vinyl in the first half of 2020? That would be The Beatles’ Abbey Road, which is kind of to be expected if you think about it. Will vinyls’ resurgence continue? It’s looking pretty good. In all of 2019, vinyl sales accounted for $224.1 million worth of sales, which 2020 has already eclipsed halfway through the year.

Yet despite vinyls’ success, the march toward an all-digital music future isn’t slowing. For the first half of 2020, streaming accounted for 85% of all music revenue. Then again, the way 2020 is going, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the humble cassette tape make a resurgence in the latter half of this year, too.

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