Have yourself an analogue Christmas: Vinyl outsold digital downloads for the first time last week

Emma Haslett
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Play on: The vinyl revival has sent hipsters into a crate-digging frenzy (Source: Getty)

It's going to be a crackly, scratchy sort of Christmas this year, after new figures showed sales of vinyl outstripped those of downloaded music for the first time since the advent of digital downloads last week.

The Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) said £2.4m was spent on vinyl albums in week 48 of 2016, compared with £2.1m spent on digital albums. That's the first time outside of Record Store Week that has happened.

“This is yet further evidence of the ability of music fans to surprise us all," said Kim Bayley, the chief executive of the ERA.

"It's not so long ago that the digital download was meant to be the future. Few would have predicted that an album format first invented in 1948 and based on stamping a groove into a piece of plastic would now be outselling it in 2016."

Vinyl revival

Vinyl has experienced a sudden resurgence in popularity in recent years, with sales spiking in recent years.

Such is the enthusiasm for vinyl that both Tesco and Sainsbury's have started selling it after 25 years. Earlier this year Sainsbury's even went as far as to claim it was the biggest vinyl retailer on the high street – to which HMV took objection, saying it had over four times the market share of Sainsbury's. Meow.

Meanwhile, last year John Lewis reported a 240 per cent increase in sales of turntables, increasing its range from one to eight models as hipsters indulged their enthusiasm for all things analogue.

And to be fair, streaming is where the kids are getting their music these days. In March it became the biggest source of revenue for the music industry in the US for the first time ever, making up 34.4 per cent of the market, ahead of downloads, which contributed 34 per cent.

At the time, sales of vinyl LPs jumped 32 per cent, hitting $416m, their highest level since 1988.

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