The days of vinyl records being a nostalgic relic of the past are long gone. This year, vinyl sales have outpaced CD sales in the United States for the first time since the 1980s.
Vinyl records accounted for $232.1 million of music sales in the first half of 2020, compared to CDs, which brought in $129.9 million, according to a report from the Recording Industry Association of America.
Vinyl records, also known as "records pressed on wax," were commonplace before other formats, such as cassette tapes and CDs, become the preferred mode of listening to music. But that hasn't stopped vinyl records from making a resurgence. Since 2005, sales for vinyl have grown consecutively. In the first half of 2020, vinyl revenue was up 4%, while CD revenue was down 48%, according to the RIAA.
However, the boost in vinyl interest hasn't been enough to keep physical sales from dropping. Physical sales plunged 23% to $376 million in the first half of the year as the pandemic continues to stall music industry norms. Concerts and visits to music stores have all but disappeared.
Despite the stunted growth of physical sales, music streaming has continued to boom.
Streaming, which includes the revenue of paid streaming, ad-supported streaming and streaming radio, grew 12% to $4.8 billion during the first six months of 2020, RIAA found.
For streaming services alone, more listeners have been willing to pay to play. Paid streaming service subscriptions, such as Spotify and Apple Music, increased by 24%, RIAA reported.
That makes streaming the dominating music format, accounting for more than 85% of music industry revenue.
So far, overall music industry sales have grown 5.6%, mainly driven by streaming, for a total of $5.7 billion during the first six months of this year, alone.
40 songs about the coronavirus pandemic
Many musicians haven't been performing on the road but are still creating music during the coronavirus pandemic. Here’s a list of songs related to life in quarantine.
1. Luke Combs, “Six Feet Apart”
This and the next few songs were exclusively written while homebound due to the spread of COVID-19.
In "Six Feet Apart," the country singer tackles the simple things we are currently missing in life in quarantine, from visiting our parents to going to the movies.
Read AP's interview with Combs here.
2. Bon Jovi, “Do What You Can”
Written after volunteering at his own community restaurant, Jon Bon Jovi encourages everyone to lend a hand — in any way you can.
3. twenty one pilots, “Level of Concern”
An ’80s dancefloor groove where lead singer Tyler Joseph asks, “Wondering would you be my little quarantine?”
4. Pitbull, “I Believe That We Will Win (World Anthem)”
Feeling down? Mr. 305 has an upbeat, encouraging song for you.
5. Turbo, Gunna and Young Thug, “Quarantine Clean”
A rap song about self-quarantining.
6. OneRepublic, “Better Days”
A reminder that things will get better.
7. Bono, “Let Your Love Be Known”
Posted to Instagram on St. Patrick’s Day, Bono wrote the track after being inspired by Italians quarantined during the outbreak. Will.i.am then performed his own version of the song, which features Jennifer Hudson and Yoshiki.
8. st. Pedro, “Phone Sex”
For those away from their partners, some advice to keep the bedrooms alive.
9. Randy Newman, “Stay Away”
A song about social distancing with Newman’s signature wit.
10. Adam Hambrick, “Between Me and the End of the World”
A tear-jerker about this country singer’s wife, a physician’s assistant working to test people for COVID-19.
Find it on SoundCloud.
11. Michael Bublé, Barenaked Ladies and Sofía Reyes, “Gotta Be Patient”
These three advise us all to keep calm and chill out.
12. Mike Love featuring John Stamos, “This Shall Too Pass”
Just like a Beach Boys song, a feel-good tune that will put a smile on your face.
13. Lil TJay, “Ice Cold”
Reflecting the times, this platinum-selling rapper spills his feelings about the current state of the world.
14. Grace Potter featuring Marcus King, Jackson Browne and Lucious, “Eachother”
In the end we still have one another, Potter advises.
15. Mike Campbell, “Lockdown”
A rocking track with lyrics like, “I’m keeping my distance, at least six feet/And I’m microwaving everything I eat.”
16. Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins Presents The Good News, “Come Together”
An anthem by some of the world’s top gospel musicians, including Kirk Franklin, Mary Mary, Lecrae, Marvin Sapp and more.
17. Snow Tha Product, “Nowhere to Go (Quarantine Love)"
Talk about being productive while at home — in just 24 hours this rapper-actress created this song and its music video about having a free schedule.
18. Tye Tribbett, “We Gon’ Be Alright”
Sampling Kendrick Lamar, Tribbett sends a comforting message to the world.
19. Benjamin Gibbard, “Life in Quarantine”
Death Cab for Cutie frontman sings a soft rock track about people isolating.
20. Alexander 23, “IDK You Yet”
Feeling incomplete and in self-isolation, Alexander wrote and produced this touching song that sounds like a future radio hit.
21. Drive-by Truckers, “Quarantine Together”
The song title says it all.
22. Erika Ender, “Back to the Basics”
“Despacito” co-writer offers a positive song in a time of turmoil.
23. Riley Green, “Better Than Me”
A country song that opens with heat: “Is the world on fire, feels like a bad dream/Did the hammer come down, feels like a kick in the teeth."
24. SENRI OE, “Togetherness”
The Japanese pianist’s breezy instrumental track will brighten up your day.
25. Queen + Adam Lambert, “You Are the Champions”
These next few songs have been re-recorded or remixed to reflect the mood of the world overtaken by the coronavirus.
In “You Are the Champions,” a forever anthem continues to serve the people.
26. Gloria Estefan, “Put Your Mask On!”
A re-working of her upbeat 1989 single “Get On Your Feet” to remind you about your current favorite accessory.
27. Avril Lavigne, “We Are Warriors”
Originally written about her battle with Lyme disease, Lavigne re-recorded the song to honor health care workers on the front lines.
28. Cardi B and iMarkkeyz, “Coronavirus”
A Cardi B rant about the coronavirus has been transformed into a hit song.
29. Todrick Hall, “Mask, Gloves, Soap, Scrubs”
Remixing his original song “Nails, Hair, Hips, Heels,” Todrick Hall has created another dance gem for digital nightclubs, a.k.a. Instagram Live. He’s even released a whole album about the pandemic called “Quarantine Queen.”
30. Hillsong Young & Free, “A Message for My Best Friends”
Sending the reminder to stay home through a remix of their song “Best Friends.”
31. Alicia Keys, “My House”
The piano slayer rewrites a Flo Rida hit to warn you: “You can’t come to my house/Suddenly two’s a crowd.”
32. Live Lounge Allstars, “Times Like These (BBC Radio 1 Stay Home Live Lounge)”
Chris Martin, Dua Lipa, Ellie Goulding, 5 Seconds of Summer and more link up to sing a 2003 Foo Fighters hit, including the Foos.
33. ArtistsCAN, “Lean on Me”
Justin Bieber, Michael Bublé, Sarah McLachlan and more join forces to lean on one another — from 6 feet apart — to perform the classic Bill Withers tune.
34. The Rolling Stones, “Living In a Ghost Town"
These next few songs were written before the virus spread but released because the tracks resonate with the current times.
This rock song echoes today’s world.
35. Norah Jones, “Tryin’ to Keep It Together”
The title says it all — we hear you, Norah!
36. HAIM, “I Know Alone”
Written about the trio’s feelings of loneliness after touring, the rock groove has a deeper meaning the whole world can now relate to.
37. John Paul White featuring Rosanne Cash, “We’re All In This Together Now”
Originally a demo, the duo recorded a finished version of the song once the coronavirus hit because it related to the current times.
38. Jewel, “Grateful”
Written at time when she was feeling anxious, Jewel released the song now to help others feeling similarly during these crazy times.
39. Brad Paisley, “No I In Beer”
Written in 2018 but released now because of its lyrics about spending time with family and close friends.
40. YUNGBLUD, “Weird!”
Crying while he wrote the song last year, the U.K. singer said he felt lost and couldn’t understand the world. He, and most of the world, feels the same way today.
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