CD Sales Rise For The First Time In Almost 20 Years

Vinyl outsold CDs in 2020 for the first time since 1991, but a new report shows CD sales are up, and they may soon give vinyl LPs a run for their money.

New data from the Recording Industry Association of American (RIAA) shows CD sales in the U.S. increased for the first time since 2004 last year, rising from 31.6 million in 2020 to 46.6 million in 2021. Meanwhile, vinyl sales hit 39.7 million units in the U.S. in 2021.

It’s thought Gen Zers could partially be driving the sales of physical media, as they’re reportedly doing things like ditching their AirPods in favor of “vintage” weird headphones. But the last year was also a tough one for vinyl production due to supply chain issues, so it could be that some got frustrated by months-long delays and instead opted to purchase the album they were waiting for on CD. Also notable: in 2021, physical media as a whole experienced its first increase in sales since 1996.