The Nielsen and Billboard 2011 Music Industry Report was just released, and the sales of vinyl records continue to soar. Vinyl sales accounted for 3.9 million units in 2011, up 36% from the prior year. Vinyl records only represent a small portion of the overall music market, and despite the fact that CD sales have plummeted by upwards of 70% in the last decade, the compact disc still accounted for sales of 223.5 million units this past year. Digital music sales outpaced physical media sales (vinyl, CDs) for the first time ever, accounting for 50.3% of total sales - a sign that the digital age is taking hold in the mainstream.
Some of the physical media sales were spurred by big discounts. CD retailers opted to sell catalog titles as low as $5 apiece, which is a far cry from the $15 retail price of the past. As far as buying vinyl records in 2011, the deals have never been better. Online record retailer Metrowax has been offering discount offers of up to 40% off, and some aging stock as low as 35 cents each before any discounts.
Has the music industry finally come back from the abyss? Time will tell. For 2012, expect certain trends to continue. Digital and vinyl record sales should continue to rise. Digital music is starting to assert some dominance in the marketplace, and vinyl still has a long upward trend in front of it. CD sales have not yet hit the bottom and should continue to fall into the foreseeable future.
Check out these full articles on this topic.
Full Album Sales Showed a Little Growth in 2011...(NY Times)
The Music Hasn't Died:: Sales Up for First Time Since 2004...(Mashable)