Vinyl shows no sign of slowing down as sales continue to surge across the UK

(Image credit: Jonny Baker - Getty)

The appeal of vinyl LPs is showing no signs of slowing down across the UK, with the British Phonographic Industry reporting that sales of the format increased again in 2021.

Despite an industry-wide vinyl shortage, thanks in part to 500,000 copies of Adele’s 30 being pre-ordered, the format grew by 11% last year, with 5.3 million vinyl LPs purchased across the country. The figure marks the 14th year of consecutive growth for the format.

Even the humble audio cassette had reason to celebrate in 2021, with 185,000 tapes sold – a rise of 19%. Those figures are the highest total since 2003.

But while vinyl and cassettes continued to sell well, the decline of the CD continued – albeit at a slower pace than expected. The BPI report that CD sales were down 11%, but were helped from further collapse by new albums from ABBA and Ed Sheeran.

As expected, streams accounted for the lion’s share of the UK's music consumption, with 147 billion individual audio streams filling our ears – up 5.7% from 2020.

MD of Proper Music Distribution Drew Hill told the BPI: "It’s been an incredible year for CDs, vinyl and cassettes as they continued to drive albums up the charts. 

"Nearly 90% of unique no.1 albums hit the top spot off the back of a physical sales majority, with some hugely impressive numbers from the likes of Adele, whose new album maintained its chart lead with an increasing physical majority share, and ABBA, who claimed the title of fastest-selling vinyl of the century.

“It’s further proof that in this golden era of choice, music fans really cherish an album they can hold!"

Looking to grab some cheap vinyl records this year, or want to know about new vinyl releases? Then take a look at our regularly updated guides. We also have guides to the best vinyl record storagebest record players around, the best budget turntables, the best portable record players and the best headphones for vinyl.

Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent 35 years in newspapers, magazines and online as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014 before moving to the e-commerce team in 2020. Scott keeps Louder’s buyer’s guides up to date, writes about the best deals for music fans, keeps on top of the latest tech releases and reviews headphones, speakers, earplugs and more. Over the last 10 years, Scott has written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog. He's previously written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald newspapers, covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to tech reviews, video games, travel and whisky. Scott's favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Cocteau Twins, Drab Majesty, Marillion and Rush.