CD sales increase for the first time in 17 years – Thank you Adele, BTS – Billboard

The rise of vinyl has had a significant impact on how listeners consume music in 2021, growing by more than half. However, last year also marked a quiet return of the CD.

Follow U.S. Year-End Report 2021 by MRC Data. Overall sales rose for the first time in a decade, boosted by vinyl sales up 51.4% to 41.72 million albums from 27.55 million copies in 2020. And the first time since Since MRC Data began tracking music sales in 1991, vinyl albums have outsold CD albums for the year.

Even if CDs are no longer the dominant physical format, their 2021 sales offer some reason for optimism. For the first time in 17 years, CD album sales increased – up 1.1% to 40.59 million albums sold in 2021, from 40.16 million in 2020. That’s a year-over-year increase in CD sales. for the first time since 2004, when more than 10 times that number of CDs were being sold (CD sales increased 4.6% to 665.5 million in 2004, from 636.5 million in 2003).

Helps boost overall CD growth: Adele. Her new album, 30, which is both the best-selling album of 2021 across all physical and digital formats (1,464 million copies sold), and the best-selling CD album of the year (898,000 copies sold). Adele’s fourth full volume topped the list a month and a half after its release, after being released in mid-November, accounting for 2.15% of total CD sales for the year. Hypothetically, there were 30 are not released in 2021, total CD sales will be down from last year.

See below for the full 10 best-selling albums of last year:


  1. Adele, 30 (898,000)
  2. Taylor Swift, Fearless (Taylor’s version) (263,000)
  3. Taylor Swift, Red (Taylor’s version)) (237,000)
  4. Carrie Underwood, My savior (217,000)
  5. TOMORROW X TOGETHER, Chaos Chapter: Freezing (215,000)
  6. Taylor Swift, Always (213,000)
  7. NCT 127 – Stickers: 3rd Album (211,000)
  8. BTS, Map of the soul: 7 (210,000)
  9. Olivia Rodrigo, Sour (195,000)
  10. BTS, It is in (187,000)

Source: MRC data, for the follow-up period January 1, 2021 through December 30, 2021.

Besides Adele, Taylor Swift have strong CD sales in 2021, with both of her discs re-recorded Taylor’s version album is in the top 5 of best selling CDs and hers Always came in at 6th place. Meanwhile, BTS – there are two albums, Map of the soul: 7 and It is in, in the top 10 – is the artist with the most CD sales in its catalog in 2021, with 1.03 million copies sold. (Notably, both of those BTS albums were released in 2020.) Adele was the second best-selling artist with 952,000 copies sold on her catalog last year, and Swift was third with 898,000. copies are consumed.

Collectively, BTS, Adele and Swift account for 7.1% of total CD album sales in 2021 – BTS with 2.54% of that total, Adele with 2.35% and Swift with 2.21%.

Part of how artists like Adele, Swift, and BTS can help boost annual CD sales is by packing their compact discs with both musical and non-music collections. By Adele 30 such as the Target-exclusive album with three bonus tracks, as well as a boxed includes a t-shirt and poster along with a CD (Carrie Underwood‘S My savior and Olivia Rodrigo‘S Sour also includes similar CD box sets).

Meanwhile, BTS offers their own dynamic visual canning sets, with It is in CD pack with photo cards, postcards and posters, among other goodies. And Swift’s Fearless (Taylor’s version) and Red (Taylor’s version) have been given personally signed CD versions through Swift’s official online store; the superstar signed so many copies that she tweeted in September, “I may never be able to write like that again, for my hand is now frozen in the permanent shape of a claw.”

An increase in CD sales in 2021 may also depend on retail conditions in 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic forces many brick-and-mortar music stores to close. In 2020, CD sales were down 26% from 2019 sales – the format’s biggest annual drop, falling from 54.2 million in 2019 to 40.16 million in 2020.

US retail store closures starting in March 2020 may have contributed to that drop – just as those reopening in 2021 may have contributed to the year’s gain last. If 2021 doesn’t reflect a resurgence in CDs, the format may at least have bottomed out in 2020, and 2021’s performance could be an indication of its presence in a growing market. stable.

A harbinger of a sustained CD resurgence: it’s not just new albums that have led to a year-over-year increase in sales. Catalog CD sales – defined as albums that are 18 months old or more and have fallen below the 100th position on Billboard 200 album charts – up 1.4% in 2021, with 24.49 million catalog CDs sold last year compared to the current 16.1 million CDs sold (up 0.5%) in 2021 Because albums from A-listers are packed with extras to attract more buyers, older albums without any connections will find their way into 2021.

Click here for the full details of the MRC Data Year End Report.

Additional reporting by Ed Christman

https://www.billboard.com/pro/cd-sales-up-2021-adele-bts-taylor-swift/ CD sales increase for the first time in 17 years – Thank you Adele, BTS – Billboard

Dais Johnston

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