For the 12th year in a row, vinyl album sales have surged, hitting a new all-time Nielsen-era high with 14.32 million purchases in 2017.
This is a 9% increase from 2016, which boasted a previous record of 13.1 million sales since Nielsen started tracking data in 1991. Vinyl represented 8.5% of all album sales and 14% of all physical album sales in 2017.
As Nielsen reports, 77 different titles sold more than 20,000 vinyl copies during the tracking period of December 30, 2016 through December 28, 2017, up significantly from 58 in 2016. Interestingly enough, rock music accounted for 67% of vinyl sales in 2017, despite the fact that the genre was surpassed by R&B/hip-hop as the most popular in the U.S. However, it does partially match in the sense that rock music accounted for 69% of vinyl LP sales in 2016.
Only one album released in 2017 made it in the year’s top 10 vinyl sellers, coming in the form of Ed Sheeran’s ÷ (Divide). However, Sheeran was still beat out by the soundtrack to the first Guardians of the Galaxy film and two records from The Beatles. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, which received a 50th anniversary reissue back in May, took the top spot with 72,000 sales, while Abbey Road followed closely with 66,000 sales.
Nielsen’s top 10 bestselling vinyl albums in 2017:
1. The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (72,000)
2. The Beatles, Abbey Road (66,000)
3. Various Artists, Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1 (62,000)
4. Ed Sheeran, ÷ (Divide) (62,000)
5. Amy Winehouse, Back to Black (58,000)
6. Prince and the Revolution, Purple Rain (58,000)
7. Bob Marley and The Wailers, Legend: The Best Of… (56,000)
8. Pink Floyd, The Dark Side of the Moon (54,000)
9. Various Artists, La La Land (49,000)
10. Michael Jackson, Thriller (49,000)
Data firm BuzzAngle Music paints a slightly different picture, claiming that vinyl sales rose by 20% from 2016, and accounted for 10% of physical album sales in 2017. BuzzAngle also states that year’s bestselling vinyl was Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1, coming in with a total of 64,175 copies sold.