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Taylor Swift helps drive UK vinyl sales to highest level since 1990

By Anna Cooban, CNN

London (CNN) — Sales of vinyl records in the United Kingdom have surged this year to hit the highest level since 1990 — with a little help from Taylor Swift.

Vinyl sales have jumped 11.7% so far in 2023 to 5.9 million units, according to preliminary figures released Thursday by the British Phonographic Industry, an association of UK record companies and labels.

That’s more than four times the increase in sales in 2022 and marks the 16th consecutive year of rising sales for the classic format, according to a BPI analysis of data from Official Charts, which tracks UK music sales and streams.

Last week alone, the trade body said, consumers bought more than 250,000 vinyl albums, making it the biggest week of sales this century.

Swift’s “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” album — originally released in 2014 — sold the most copies so far this year, followed by The Rolling Stones’ “Hackney Diamonds,” Lana Del Rey’s “Did You Know Know There’s A Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd” and Swift’s “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version).”

The surge in vinyl sales comes as the physical music market — which includes vinyl records, CDs and cassette tapes — continues to grow, even as streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music retain their dominance of the overall music market.

In the United States, physical music sales during the first half of 2023 hit the highest level since 2013, according to the Recording Industry Association of America.

Still, streaming services accounted for 84% of the total revenues from recorded music sales over that same six-month period, RIAA said, with paid subscriptions the “strongest driver” of revenue growth.

In the UK, 80% of recorded music is listened to on streaming platforms, according to the BPI.

“Led by vinyl, the resurgence of physical product underlines the resilience of the UK music market at a time when streaming consumption continues to hit record levels,” Jo Twist, BPI’s chief executive, said in a statement.

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