Vinyl booms as streaming fuels biggest rise in UK music sales for 20 years

Vinyl sales have hit a 26-year high as steaming helped lead the fastest growth in UK music consumption since the late 1990s.

A total of 135.1 million albums or their equivalent were either streamed, purchased on physical format, and/or downloaded over the past 12 months. This represents a 9.5% rise on 2016 and marks a third year of growth.

Vinyl LP sales are now at their highest level since 1991, with 4.1 million LPs sold last year - a rise of 26.8 % over the 12-month period and a huge leap from their lowest point a decade ago when just 205,000 vinyl LPs were sold, according to figures from the British Phonographic Industry.

Almost one in 10 of all physical purchases are now on vinyl format. Ed Sheeran’s Divide was the most purchased album on vinyl LP (and on CD), ahead of Liam Gallagher, whose first solo release As You Were enjoyed the highest week-one sales in over 20 years.

Despite vinyl's strong comeback, the year’s growth in demand for recorded music was driven by 68.1 billion audio streams served through Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer and other audio streaming services. This represents a 51.5% rise on 2016 and a 1,740% increase since 2012.

Ed Sheeran was the year’s most streamed artist ahead of Drake. Credit: PA

Streaming now accounts for over half of UK music consumption, with weekly streams hitting the 1.5 billion milestone in the second week of December.

UK acts accounted for eight of the top-10 best-selling artist albums in 2017, with Ed Sheeran leading another successful year for British artists. Divide was the year's most streamed, physically purchased (both on CD and LP) and downloaded album.

Cassettes tapes are also making an unlikely comeback, with sales of the retro format more than doubling last year compared to 2016.

In 2017, more than 80 albums were released on cassette, driving almost 20,000 sales.

The biggest artist albums of 2017 on the Official Chart

  • Ed Sheeran - ÷

  • Rag'n'bone Man - Human

  • Sam Smith - The Thrill Of It All

  • Little Mix - Glory Days

  • Pink - Beautiful Trauma

  • Ed Sheeran - x

  • Michael Ball & Alfie Boe - Together Again

  • Drake - More Life

  • Liam Gallagher - As You Were

  • Stormzy - Gang Signs & Prayer