CD sales stacking up with help from Adele and Abba


There is life in CDs yet after sales surged in the format for the first time in four years on the back of releases from Adele and Abba.

The compact disc has been viewed as a casualty of the music streaming revolution but, as with vinyl records, there is renewed interest in the medium. The British Phonographic Industry, the record label trade association, said the CD format was the “gold star” of last year, with revenue rising 1.4 per cent to £117.2 million last year.

The growth meant CDs stayed in front of vinyl sales, which rose by more than a third to £116 million. Revenue from CDs remains a long way from its £1.1 billion peak in 2003.

Adele’s 30 was the top-selling CD album, followed by Voyage by Abba. New releases by Ed Sheeran and Coldplay also boosted sales. The CD resurgence is echoed in the United States, where sales grew last year for the first time since 2004, up a fifth to $584.2 million.

Overall UK physical music sales rose 14.6 per cent to £241 million last year, a faster rate of growth than streaming, which was up 13.7 per cent to £837 million. Total music sales rose 12.8 per cent to £1.3 billion, the British Phonographic Industry said.

Abba’s Voyage was the top-selling vinyl album last year, while there were a number of old records in the top 10 for the format, including Nirvana’s Nevermind and Back to Black by Amy Winehouse.

Broader music industry data from Britain and the US shows a turning away from the latest releases as people rediscover music that is a year or more past its release date.


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