HMV is predicting its biggest year for vinyl music sales since the late 80s as records make a comeback on the UK’s Christmas wish lists.
The music retailer said demand was soaring across all genres, with Ed Sheeran’s Divide on track to be its biggest selling vinyl record of the year, followed by the solo efforts of Liam and Noel Gallagher, formerly of Oasis, in second and third place.
“This year is set to be our biggest for vinyl sales since the late 1980s,” said John Hirst, music manager at HMV.
“A strong year for new releases from artists such as Ed Sheeran and Rag’n’Bone Man has been followed up with a really strong back end, with the Gallagher brothers really driving the LP sales into the final quarter.”
Music fans are falling back in love with vinyl in a big way. The BPI, the music industry trade body, predicts UK sales of vinyl albums will exceed 4m – the highest number since it started collecting data in the early 90s.
Britons bought 3.2m LPs last year, a rise of 53% on 2015 and the highest number since 1991, when Stars by Simply Red was the bestselling album.
The current boom has been fuelled by nostalgia surrounding the deaths of artists such as David Bowie, who was the bestselling vinyl artist of 2016, with five albums featuring posthumously in the top 30.
With the 11-year-old Back to Black album by the late Amy Winehouse also in HMV’s vinyl top five, ahead of Human by Rag’n’Bone Man, the sales data points to consumers snapping up older albums.
Hirst said: “Sales also continue to soar across our back catalogue, perhaps as people use streaming as a discovery tool alongside wanting to browse and collect physical music formats.”
The surge in demand for vinyl resulted in the first rise in physical music sales in a decade in the first six months of 2017, up 2.5% to £198m, according to the Entertainment Retailers Association.
In the same period, the market for streaming and downloads on services such as Spotify and Apple Music increased in value by 16.6% year on year to £366.6m, accounting for two-thirds of the £564m UK music sales total.
The revival has helped offset the decline of the CD, with vinyl sales up 37.6% to £37.3m in the period, and the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack as well as the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band also making the top five. The boom led to the return of the top 10 and top 40 charts for vinyl in 2015.
HMV rings up a third of LP sales in the UK and, with sales up 31% on last year, its success points to another bumper year for vinyl.
The retailer, the last surviving music chain on the high street with 132 stores, expects to sell 1.5m records this year – more than the entire album market in 1994.
The success of a format that once looked set to go the way of the cassette and the MiniDisc has encouraged Sainsbury’s to launch a line of own-brand vinyl albums before Christmas.