If One Artist Dominates Vinyl Sales, Does That Still Mean The Industry Is Doing Well?

It seems that every year a new modern-day vinyl sales record is being reported, which is a great sign for a music industry that could use more physical sales. The problem is, if one artist dominates those sales does that really mean that the vinyl industry is doing well?

vinyl album sales

Music industry tracking company Luminate looked at the sales data for vinyl records in 2023 and found that Taylor Swift accounted for 1 out of every 15 vinyl sales in the U.S. In fact, according to Billboard, “Swift’s vinyl sales were so big in 2023 that she sold more than the next seven-biggest-selling acts on vinyl last year. Lana Del Rey was the year’s No. 2-seller on vinyl, with 646,000 copies sold, followed by Tyler, the Creator (552,000), Travis Scott (474,000), Olivia Rodrigo (408,000), Kendrick Lamar (382,000), Metallica (378,000) and The Beatles (373,000). (To round out the top 10-selling acts on vinyl last year, Fleetwood Mac was No. 9, with 357,000, and Mac Miller was No. 10 with 354,000.)”

Swift tallied almost 3.5 million vinyl album sales for the year, which is about 7% of the grand total. Not only that, “The top-selling vinyl album of 2023 was Swift’s 1989 (Taylor’s Version) with 1.014 million sold. That marks the largest yearly sales total for a vinyl album, and the first vinyl set to sell a million in a calendar year, since Luminate began tracking sales in 1991.”

1. Taylor Swift, 1989 (Taylor’s Version) (1.014 million)
2. Taylor Swift, Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) (510,000)
3. Taylor Swift, Midnights (492,000)
4. Travis Scott, Utopia (373,000)
5. Taylor Swift, Folklore (308,000)
6. Olivia Rodrigo, Guts (267,000)
7. Taylor Swift, Lover (256,000)
8. Lana Del Rey, Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd (215,000)
9. Fleetwood Mac, Rumours (206,000)
10. Lana Del Rey, Born To Die (192,000)

That’s a lot of Taylor Swift on one chart! You have to wonder whether this is just an exceptional year for her or if we can expect this next year as well.

The bottom line is that you have one artist who is skewing the sales numbers. Vinyl is still doing well and is a bright spot in the industry, but it might not be doing quite as well as we’re led to believe.

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