Taylor Swift's ‘Midnights’ breaks a new record and rides the wave of vinyl revival

Taylor Swift arrives at the MTV Video Music Awards
Taylor Swift arrives at the MTV Video Music Awards   -   Copyright  Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
By Katy Dartford

What a year Taylor Swift has had. 

Despite the Ticketmaster fiasco, the singer-songwriter has raked up countless awards and made history by landing a perfect 10 in the charts after the release of her tenth studio album, 2022's ‘Midnights’.

Now, it has been reported that 'Midnights' has sold so many copies on vinyl that the format has outsold CDs for the first time since the 80s.

'Midnights' was released in October and was issued in five colour-coded CD and vinyl editions, with some limited not by how many copies were pressed, but how long they were sold for.

In its first week, vinyl sales reached 61,948 in the UK, and according to the Guardian, are now at 80,000. 

As for the US, 575,000 vinyl copies were also sold in its release week according to UMG.

This makes it the fastest selling vinyl release and the biggest-selling vinyl in the UK, Canada and Australia in the modern vinyl era.

According to Official Charts, the bestsellingalbums of 2022 in the UK were: 

1. 'Midnights' – Taylor Swift

2. 'Harry’s House' – Harry Styles

3. 'The Car' – Arctic Monkeys

4. 'C’mon You Know' – Liam Gallagher

5. 'Wet Leg' – Wet Leg

6.'Will of the People' – Muse

7. 'Rumours' – Fleetwood Mac

8. 'Skinny Fia' – Fontaines D.C.

9. 'Being Funny in A Foreign Language' – 1975

10. 'AM' – Arctic Monkeys

The vinyl renaissance

According to statistica, vinyl sales went from 0.3 million in 2006 to 4.5 million last year in Germany. In France, 1.8 million vinyl records were sold in 2016, increasing to 5.2 million records sold in 2021.

In Finland, vinyl record sales peaked at 167,000 in 2021, compared to 55,000 in 2011.

Meanwhile, the sale of vinyl in Europe is expected to reach a value of €90.82 million during 2021-2025 and grow by 5.71 per cent annually, according to Technavio. 41 per cent of this growth will originate from the UK, although the growth of the market in Germany will be faster.

"A watershed moment"

In a statement published by The Guardian, Kim Bayley – chief executive of the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) – said the monumental sales have defined “a watershed moment for the entire music industry”. 

“After the CD came along and pretty much wiped out the vinyl business, few of us would have believed a renaissance like this was possible.”

As sales for vinyl continue to surge, those for CDs continue to dwindle. 

In 2021, revenues from vinyl album sales in the UK rose 23 per cent to €153.9 million, while CD sales continued to fall by 3.9 per cent to €170 million, according to the ERA.

This year, revenue from CD sales - which overtook vinyl in 1988 and cassettes in 1991 - will fall below that of vinyl LPs by as much as €22 million.

Additional sources • UMG, Guardian