CD sales grow for first time since 2004
Dust off those plastic binders that lived in the back seat of your car and fire up the boombox, because compact discs are back.
- CD sales enjoyed year-over-year growth for the first time since 2004, according to the Recording Industry Association of America's annual sales report.
- Combined with the decade-long vinyl sales explosion, overall physical music sales grew for the first time since 1996.
Why it matters: Streaming is the new lifeblood of the music industry, but physical music is enjoying a resurgence that can no longer be dismissed as a passing fad driven by hardcore collectors.
By the numbers: Physical music sales exploded to the tune of $1.65 billion in the U.S. last year, according to the RIAA data.
- CD sales grew to $584.2 million nationally last year, up more than $100 million from 2020. By comparison, 2021 vinyl sales increased to $1 billion annually, up from $643.9 million.
Zoom in: It's especially good news for local record stores, like Grimey's on East Trinity Lane. Co-owner Doyle Davis tells Axios that vinyl is still king, but CD sales have "held their own."
- Davis has noticed strong CD sales for new albums, especially when there is a delay in the vinyl release, and pointed to the new album by Adia Victoria last year as an example.
- "I think really this is about young people who are finding they like hard copies of music in the digital age," Davis says.
Be smart: The CD was the music industry's leading format in the 1990s, peaking at $13.2 billion in annual sales in 2000.
- You know what happened next. Napster and illegal streaming sites gave way to paid streaming, which now accounts for $8.6 billion in annual revenue.
- In addition to record stores, artists have appreciated the rise in vinyl — and now CD sales — because it gives them another avenue to sell their music.
What they're saying: "I just think the whole thing is great," Davis says. "It speaks to the health and the overall comeback of physical media in general."