Just as David Bowie’s final album Blackstar finishes racking up appearances on virtually every “Best albums of the year so far” list industry wide — including our own — the singer’s estate has more than just critical praise to buoy its mid-year spirits. Blackstar is the best-selling vinyl record of the year so far, with 57,000 plastic discs sold in the first six months of 2016.
The album has already outsold all but two of last year’s releases on the format, Taylor Swift’s 1989 and Adele’s 25, and looks to continue selling well throughout the rest of this year, especially given the massive amount of critical success it will probably have in upcoming year-end polls.
That, and vinyl sales are up 11 percent this year, a fact that will certainly aid in overall sales of this year’s top LP.
Even though it was released last year, Adele’s 25 has still been hugely successful on the analog format, with 36,000 units sold in the first months of this year, compared to 116,000 sold in 2015 (for which it was only available for the last few months, as it was a late-year release).
Rounding out the top five list is Twenty One Pilots’ latest album Blurryface (31,000 units sold), and two posthumous releases: Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black (27,000 sold) and Bob Marley & The Wailers’ Legend: The Best of Bob Marley (23,000). Rapper Kendrick Lamar barely missed the top five, with 22,000 copies of hip-hop masterpiece To Pimp A Butterfly moving from store shelves this year.
Increased vinyl sales are indicative of a society which wants to feel more physically in touch with the music it enjoys. Vinyl has further been buoyed by a slew of industry initiatives, from the ever-popular Record Store Day to programs like Local Natives and Spoon’s recently-announced Vinyl Gratification program.
As vinyl continues to rise in popularity, the demographics of popular albums will probably shift with it — so we’ll likely be seeing less and less re-released material as time goes by.