The future of music, industry specialists tell us, is uncertain. People are listening to terrestrial radio less and less, and no one is buying physical copies of albums anymore. Unless, of course, those albums are available on vinyl.
This chart shows just how big the growth of vinyl has been in the last 10 years in millions of albums sold — and just how huge it was last year: In 2014, 9.2 million vinyl albums were sold according to Soundscan and Nielsen ratings. That's the highest number since the companies started tracking music sales in 1993 (Nielsen Soundscan data for the number of LPs sold in 1991 and 1992 was not available.) Those 9.2 million LPs only accounted for 6 percent of album sales in 2014, but the industry isn't looking at what's happening right now. What matters to musicians, songwriters, labels, and tech companies isn't where music is, but where it's going. In other words, what matters in the industry is growth.
This year vinyl sales grew by 52 percent according to Nielsen. Streaming sales grew by 53 percent. It seems likely that music is going both toward technology and away from it.