New releases' share of UK's vinyl LP market leapt by more than 40% in 2021, BPI analysis reveals

Rock genre claimed 60% of the year's LP sales, with the biggest sellers including 2021 albums by British bands The Lathums, The Snuts & Mogwai.

London, 28th April 2022

New analysis from the BPI – the UK association of independent and major record labels – unveils that new albums increased their share of the UK’s vinyl LP market by more than 40% in 2021. Nearly 43% of LP sales last year were for albums released during the calendar year, compared to 30% in 2020.

Led by 2021 albums by ABBA, Adele and Ed Sheeran, this growing share of the vinyl LP market by new releases is highlighted in All About The Music 2022 – the 43rd edition of the BPI Yearbook. The authoritative industry publication looks at 2021 UK music consumption and trends.

Between them, ABBA’s Voyage, Adele’s 30 and = by Ed Sheeran cumulatively accounted for over 100,000 vinyl LP purchases in 2021 and were among the format’s five biggest sellers of the year, according to Official Charts Company data. Two other albums released during the year  – Chemtrails Over The Country Club by Lana Del Rey and Blue Weekend by Wolf Alice – also made the year’s Top 10, while the 20 biggest sellers included 2021 titles from Sam Fender, Royal Blood, Coldplay and Billie Eilish. These successes helped to lift the share of LP sales made up of new releases from 30% in 2020 to 42.9% in 2021, a year-on-year rise of 43%. Another 5.5% of LPs sold in 2021 were for albums that were released the previous year. Overall, vinyl sales rose last year for a 14th consecutive year, increasing by over a tenth (10.6%) to 5.3 million units.

Despite the key growth in the popularity of new albums, BPI research based on Official Charts Company data shows that catalogue titles still accounted for the majority of vinyl LP sales. Defined here as albums released in or prior to 2019, catalogue titles made up 51.6% of all LP sales, compared to 60.9% in 2020. Five of the year’s Top 10 were catalogue albums, ranging in vintage from Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours from 1977 to Harry Styles’ Fine Line, which was released in 2019. Classics by Queen, Amy Winehouse and Nirvana also made the year’s Top 10, while the Top 20 LPs of the year included releases by Pink Floyd and Arctic Monkeys.

Rock dominates LP sales as David Bowie is vinyl’s top seller

Reissues and archive material helped David Bowie to finish again as the year’s top-selling vinyl artist, ahead of The Beatles, while the Top 10 artists had a strong female showing led by Taylor Swift at No. 3. Lana Del Rey and Adele also made the Top 10, alongside mixed-gender groups ABBA and Fleetwood Mac.

Rock remained the dominant genre for LP sales, making up 60.0% of the market, down slightly from 61.1% the year before. The biggest sellers on the format included albums by new contemporary British bands such as Mogwai, The Lathums and The Snuts who last year all reached No. 1 on the weekly Official Albums Chart. Pop claimed 18.9% of LP sales, up from 16.9% in 2020, and Hip-Hop/Rap’s share grew from 4.6% to 4.7%.

CD claimed 59% of all 2021 album purchases

All of 2021’s 10 biggest-selling albums on CD were released during the calendar year, underlying the continuing importance of the format to new music. These were led by Adele’s 30 which uniquely sold more than 150,000 CDs in a single week last year and became the only album to top 400,000 sales on the format by year end. Prior to 30, Ed Sheeran’s = and then ABBA’s Voyage took it in turn to be the year’s fastest-selling CD and also finished among 2021’s top three CD sellers. The year’s top four titles collectively accounted for more than a million CD sales, while the top 100 titles were each purchased more than 15,000 times. CD made up 58.7% of all album purchases in 2021, compared to 59.4% in 2021.

Cassette sales at highest annual level since 2003

While the cassette market is far smaller than those for vinyl and CD, a huge number of artists and labels are now offering fans the chance to buy albums on this format. Over 30 titles sold more than 1,000 copies on cassette in their first week in 2021, while new albums by Dave, Wolf Alice and Coldplay sold over 5,000 copies in their week of release. They were all among the year’s 10 biggest cassette sellers, a list headed by Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour and also including albums by Lana Del Rey, Billie Eilish and Demi Lovato. Although starting from a small base, annual cassette sales increased last year by 4,750% since 2012 to reach over 185,000 units, their highest level since 2003.

Despite the dominance of streaming, which made up 83.1% of recorded music consumption in the UK in 2021, 20.0 million physical albums were sold during the year. Although the physical market was down overall, its year-on-year decline slowed sharply from nearly 25% to 5.5%. There were also annual rises for LPs (up 10.6%) and cassette (up 18.5%).

Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive BPI, BRIT Awards & Mercury Prize, said:

Even though streaming accounts for more than four-fifths of consumption of recorded music in the UK, the continuing demand for vinyl, CDs and cassettes highlights the extensive range of choices fans now have to access their favourite music. The LP’s seemingly unstoppable resurgence has been one of the industry’s great success stories of recent times and it is fantastic to see an increasing part of this revival is down to new releases. And, while the LP tends to grab the limelight when it comes to physical product, we should not forget the CD remains an extremely important format for the industry, making up nearly 60% of album purchases in the UK last year.”


Chart 1 – Official Vinyl Albums Chart 2021 – © Official Charts Company  See the full Top 40 best-selling vinyl albums of 2021.

Pos.         Artist & Title                                                                                                                

  1. ABBA – Voyage
  2. Adele – 30
  3. Fleetwood Mac – Rumours
  4. Ed Sheeran – =
  5. Amy Winehouse – Back To Black
  6. Nirvana – Nevermind
  7. Queen – Greatest Hits
  8. Lana Del Rey – Chemtrails Over The Country Club
  9. Wolf Alice – Blue Weekend
  10. Harry Styles – Fine Line

Chart 2 – Top Selling Vinyl Artists 2021 – © Official Charts Company

Pos.         Artist                                                                                                                

  1. David Bowie
  2. The Beatles
  3. Taylor Swift
  4. Pink Floyd
  5. ABBA
  6. Fleetwood Mac
  7. Lana Del Rey
  8. Oasis
  9. Arctic Monkeys
  10. Adele


Chart 3 – Official CD Albums Chart  2021 – © Official Charts Company

Pos.         Artist & Title                                                                                                                

  1. Adele – 30
  2. ABBA – Voyage
  3. Ed Sheeran – =
  4. Coldplay – Music Of The Spheres
  5. Rag’n’Bone Man – Life By Misadventure
  6. Various Artists – Now That’s What I Call Music 108
  7. Elton John – The Lockdown Sessions
  8. Various Artists – Now That’s What I Call Music 110
  9. Various Artists – Now That’s What I Call Music 109
  10. Rod Stewart – The Tears Of Hercules

Chart 4 – Official Cassette Albums Chart  2021 – © Official Charts Company
See the full Top 40 best-selling cassettes of 2021.

Pos.         Artist & Title                                                                                                                

  1. Olivia Rodrigo – Sour
  2. Dave – We’re All Alone In This Together
  3. Lana Del Rey – Chemtrails Over The Country Club
  4. Queen – Greatest Hits
  5. Coldplay – Music Of The Spheres
  6. Wolf Alice – Blue Weekend
  7. Billie Eilish – Happier Than Ever
  8. Elton John – The Lockdown Sessions
  9. Demi Lovato – Dancing With The Devil: The Art Of Starting Over
  10. Ed Sheeran – =

The BPI Yearbook “All About The Music 2022” is free to BPI members, but can be purchased here.


BPI represents the UK’s recorded music industry. We champion the interests of our membership which includes more than 400 independent music companies. Together, BPI’s members account for 85% of all music sold in the United Kingdom.