Digital, Vinyl Sales Hit New High Marks — Digital Definitely the Future, but is Vinyl a Rising Alternative?

misc - Digital musicVinyl and single digital track sales set new records last week, according to Nielsen SoundScan — four artists breaking the single-year digital tracks sales, and year-to-date vinyl record sales.

As of November 8th, Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga, the Black Eyed Peas and Taylor Swift broke Rihanna’s single-year digital tracks sales record of 9.9 million tracks, with 11.3 million tracks, 11.1 million tracks, 10.3 million tracks, and 9.98 million tracks respectively.

The top three artists have already topped 10 million tracks sold this year and Taylor Swift is expected to pass the mark next week. Also next week, sales of digital albums should surpass last year’s total of 65 million and sales of digital tracks should top the 1 billion mark.

As for vinyl, year-to-date vinyl record sales topped two million units last week, breaking the previous record of 1.9 million units last year. At the same point in time last year, SoundScan had tracked 1.5 million sales of vinyl records.

According to the numbers from both the digital , that’s a 37% year-over-year improvement.

Here’s a brief history of the vinyl market, as told by

Vinyl has come a long way from the period in the ’90s when it was a format that was almost exclusively used by underground rock bands and DJ-oriented genres. Many years passed when most artists – especially mainstream artists – did not have vinyl releases (many still do not have vinyl releases). Though it gained momentum towards the end of the decade, it wasn’t until the mid-2000s when new releases of all stripes were being released on vinyl, when it was seen as a purer way to experience music in an era of near-ubiquitous digital music. Labels started offering MP3 downloads with vinyl purchases, thus creating a great digital-physical combination. Today, consumers can find vinyl in both mass merchants and the usual Independent stores.

Both digital and vinyl are on the rise. While digital is definitely the future of music, the rise of vinyl purchase is proving that it does not fulfill all the fans’ needs.

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