Vinyl album sales continue to be a bright spot among an otherwise bleak album sales picture. 16.8 million vinyl albums were sold in 2018, according to Nielsen Music (up 14.6 percent) — marking the 13th consecutive year of growth for the format. 16.8 million is also a new yearly high for vinyl album sales since Nielsen Music began tracking sales in 1991.
Comparatively, overall album sales (vinyl LP, CD, digital, cassette, etc.) in 2018 fell 17.7 percent to 141 million.
Vinyl LP sales accounted for 11.9 percent of all album sales in 2018 (16.8 million of 141 million). In 2017, the format comprised 6.5 percent of album sales.
Nielsen Music’s 2018 tracking year ran from Dec. 29, 2017 through Jan. 3, 2019. Due to a quirk in the calendar, there were 53 weeks in 2018, instead of the usual 52. So, for 2018 volume comparisons to 2017, a corresponding 53-week period is used by Nielsen Music for 2017: Dec. 30, 2016 through Jan. 4, 2018. Numbers in this story are rounded.
Perhaps not surprisingly, vinyl LPs were 19.1 percent of all physical album sales (CDs, LPs, cassettes, etc.) in 2018. That’s a new Nielsen-era record share for the once-dormant format, up from 14 percent in 2017.