In rotation: 1/11/21

For the 15th year in a row, U.S. vinyl album sales increased. Harry Styles’ Fine Line helped U.S. vinyl album sales achieve yet another banner year — their highest total in 30 years of tracking — as the set closed 2020 as the top-selling vinyl album, according to MRC Data. The set sold 232,000 copies on vinyl during the tracking year (Jan. 3 through Dec. 31, 2020). Vinyl album sales totaled 27.54 million in 2020, up 46.2% compared to 2019. 2020 marked the 15th consecutive year vinyl album sales grew, and the largest year for vinyl album sales since MRC Data began tracking sales in 1991. Vinyl LP sales also saw their best sales week ever in the MRC Data era, when 1.84 million vinyl albums were sold in the week ending Dec. 24, 2020. Vinyl LP sales were the third-biggest-selling album format in 2020, trailing two formats that both declined: CDs (40.12 million; down 26%) and digital albums (34.39 million; down 12.5%).

Des Moines, IA | Blast from the past: vinyl records are getting a new spin at a Des Moines store. What started as a Facebook group has turned into a thriving shop. In a time of uncertainty, a little nostalgia can go a long way. And that’s what Vinyl Cup Records in Des Moines is hoping to offer music lovers of all ages. It started as a Facebook group in 2017. Store owner Luke Dickens was a collector and would go to shows and pop-ups. He quickly learned his passion was shared by many, saying “we went from 40 members to 2000 members in six months. My wife said get these records out of my house. Okay, so I open the record store.” Dickens and store manager Benji Rask say listening to a record is an experience that transports you into the studio. And it’s certainly nostalgic. But there’s also something magical happening with vinyl. It’s bridging generations. They say “I think that people are really liking kind of going back in time a little bit because we are so attached to our devices, kids are listening to what their parents were, and also new artists, almost every new artist is releasing on vinyl.”

New York, NY | Vinyl sales saw record-setting increase in 2020: Music fans purchasing albums as vinyl records has become more popular in recent years. But sales in 2020 were record-setting. “I think it’s dedicating yourself to something. It’s fashionable. It’s appealing to have a collection. It’s appealing to support your artists in a way that you’d like,” says Rutgers University freshman Sebastian Denis. Denis was shopping at the Princeton Record Exchange to add to his vinyl record collection. The store sold 3,800 new vinyl records in December – an unprecedented number in the digital era, according to owner Jon Lambert. “At times, I feel like I’m in the ‘80s again. But there’s something about these times and that sort of shopping and that sort of experience,” Lambert says. While it was unclear how much of a role the pandemic played in the sale increase, it is a fact that buying habits have changed. Vinyl outsold CDs in 2020 for the first time in nearly 35 years. There was more than a quarter-billion dollars’ worth of sales in the first half of 2020 alone.

Rapid City, SD | Local vinyl record businesses see sizable surge in sales during Christmas week: Local businesses, like Black Hills Vinyl and Ernie November, saw a surge in vinyl record sales during the week of Christmas. It’s the trend that shined through for the old way of listening to music as nearly two million records were sold nationally in the week of December 24. A record in and of its own. Local stores like Black Hills Vinyl and Ernie November cashed in, but the rise in record sales didn’t necessarily come as a surprise, since both businesses said that vinyl says have been increasing over the years. “We’ve definitely had a jump this year in records, but we’ve seen it for the last 10 years; creeping up every year, except this year it would be an exception where it was drastic,” said Keith Coombes, the Manager of Ernie November. “We more than doubled our record sales in the month of December.” A global pandemic is actually helping these businesses in a time where people weren’t able to see their favorite performers live in action.

Grove, OK | The Farr Side column: 2021 arrives, vinyl-y: Picture this: I’m sitting on the floor with the albums “Thriller,” “Purple Rain,” “Like A Virgin,” “Synchronicity,” “Footloose,” “Private Dancer,” “Can’t Slow Down” and so many others. It’s like it was yesterday. That’s because it was yesterday. I never dreamed I’d relive those kinds of moments again. But I did and I’m loving it. Music has been a huge part of my life and that will never change. Can you imagine how thrilling it was for me to venture into the stores over Christmas and see what I was seeing? Thank goodness for having to adorn masks, because I’m sure the look on my face was … interesting. I was like a kid in a candy store. I used to love going to department stores to check their music offerings. It’s been a sad realization to see the music section dwindling over the past few years in the wake of digital music and streaming services. Don’t get me wrong, the ease and quickness to play music is wonderful. But it’s not the same experience.

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