RIAA Confirms LPs Outsold CDs in 2022

In an official report released today, March 9, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) confirmed what many of us already knew — namely, that LPs outsold CDs in 2022. The RIAA further clarified this is the first time that milestone has occurred since 1987 — as in, it’s the first time in 35 years that LPs have returned to the top of the sales charts in the physical format realm.

For those of you into the numerical side of things, here’s how it all breaks down. In the report, which is titled “Year-End 2022 RIAA Revenue Statistics,” the RIAA notes that revenues from physical music formats continued to grow in 2022 after their “remarkable resurgence in 2021” (in the RIAA’s own parlance). Total physical revenues of $1.7 billion were up 4% versus the prior year. Revenues from vinyl records grew 17% to $1.2 billion — the 16th consecutive year of sales growth — and vinyl accounted for 71% of physical format revenues.

For the first time since 1987, vinyl albums outsold CDs in terms of physical units — as in, 41 million LPs sold versus 33 million CDs. (For the record, after a 2021 rebound versus the pandemic-impacted 2020, revenues from CDs fell 18% to $483 million in 2022.)

Of course, 41 million LPs doesn’t totally stack up (pun intended) one-to-one with the sheer volume of vinyl that was being sold during our favorite format’s heyday — but, hey, we’ll take it. Growth is growth, I say.

Looking at the bigger revenue picture overall, recorded music revenues in the U.S. in 2022 continued to grow for the seventh consecutive year. Total revenues grew 6% to a record high $15.9 billion at estimated retail value. In what comes as little-to-no surprise, streaming continued to be the biggest driver of growth, with record levels of engagement in paid subscriptions, continued growth in ad-supported format revenues, and growing contributions from new platforms and services. At wholesale value, those revenues grew 5% and exceeded $10 billion for the first time ever.

So, how many LPs did you personally buy in 2022 to help contribute to last year’s vinyl-sales growth margin? Share your own obtainment stats (and I’ll share mine) in the Comments section below.

If you want to see more about and/or from the RIAA, go here.


Catcher10's picture

I'm guessing I bought around 45 albums in 2022....

PeterPani's picture

That an ealier technology survived the next step in evolution and came back after 35 years?

Mike Mettler's picture
Good Q! Would, say, something like radio count in a similar regard, after television came along in the 1940s and people felt radio would, essentially, disappear? Would the advent of FM radio in its late 1960s/early 1970s heyday be the parallel -- and then, more recently, the emergence of satellite radio at the turn of the century?
PeterPani's picture

I still use my FM Leak ThroughLine tuner. I guess, everything analog gets a second chance.

JACK L's picture


Mine is even more vintage !!!

I still listen the background music from my 1940s vintage Northern Electric AM tabletop radio in white painted bakelite while I am working DIY at my bench.

I picked it up from my neighborhood garage sale for $12 some 15 years back- noisy like hell. I fixed it by replacing the old old leaking coupling capacitor taken out from my parts bin.

Jack L

JACK L's picture


How come? Simply because "the next step in resolution" (CD/DVD) is not good enough SONICALLY despite Sony/Philips' redbook CD media was claimed "the best sound in the world ever since" in 1980.

Frankly, it is our ears that are more refined in past decades to find out analogue sounds better than any digital.

Listening to analogue is believing

Jack L

WesHeadley's picture

I bought about 275 vinyl records in 2022. Mostly new but some NM & VG+ used copies as well.

rexlibris's picture

366 Records, 12 Box Sets, 7 12" EPs, 1 10"4 7".

28 CDs only because they aren't available on vinyl.

Mike Mettler's picture
Love seeing all the stats everyone is sharing here! You'd think I'd have an exact count myself at this point, but it's fair to say I was on the high side of getting 500-plus LPs in 2022, perhaps even more.

I still buy a lot of CDs, mainly for completionist/collection purposes, and plenty of box sets as well in all formats, especially Blu-ray for any surround-sound/Atmos-related mixes.

I buy most of my LPs in person at my local record shop rotation (three main shops nearby that I visit fairly regularly), as well as via Discogs, eBay, Amazon, and often from the artists themselves if they sell direct via their own sites/official stores. I also check out the local record shops whenever I travel.

I tend to catalog my purchases via my Discogs account, but sometimes I don't log them as often as I should. I used to have a spreadsheet for that purpose, and maybe I should revive it. Open to other cataloguing suggestions beyond Discogs if anyone has a better methodology to share.

JACK L's picture


Me too. I developed my 1,000+ stereo vinyl LPs in just 5-6 years from my neighborhood thrift stores for 1 buck or even less, a piece - 95% timeless classical !!! Proper pre-use & during-use treatment make all of my pre-owned LPs sound like new ones !!!!

Older the LPs better the sound of the music performance ! Why?? Simply old timers only employed vacuum tubes gears/R2R recording media. No digital to screw up the performance sound !!!!

Listening is believing

Jack L

PMO's picture

John Darko has a good video examining the statistics around the statements that LPs outsold CDs. He looks at a lot of sources and presents his findings in a very even-handed way. The title of the YouTube video is "Is vinyl REALLY outselling CDs?"

brenro12's picture

Didn't rediscover vinyl until this year but about sixty LP's so far and my fifty year old records sound surprisingly good on a modern turntable. I'm having a blast.

DigMyGroove's picture

Around 165 LPs and 10 box sets, plus scores of CDs too. The LP count includes used albums, but I think at least half were new releases, and most of the box sets definitely were.

Mike Mettler's picture
Hadn't divvied my own new/used count until I saw your note. I probably purchased between 30-50 used LPs max in my 2022 LP obtainment count. Haven't played all of them yet, but I like having them at the ready when the time comes.

When I interviewed David Crosby last year for a story posted here on AP back on January 5, I bought a clean used copy of his 1989 LP Oh Yes I Can via Discogs because my original copy is in storage, and I wanted to hear "Drive My Car" on vinyl. When David passed away earlier this year, I included that LP in my listening rotation while I was working on my tribute story about him for our sister site Sound & Vision, so I was glad I had that used LP at the ready.

rich d's picture

Hello, my name is rich d and I buy too many records

PeterPani's picture

you should be okay

JACK L's picture


Out of curiosity, how many records is "too many records" ?

Musically, it is not tons of vinyl records one has hoarded up that matters.

It is how many hours one spends day in day out in playing them. Music pleasure comes from playing them, not from how many tons of records one has hoarded up & R.I.P. on the shelves.

I only collected 1,000+ stereo LPs (95% classical music) in 5-6 years paying a buck or so a piece from local thrift stores. Not too many. Yet
I play my favourite musicals day a few hours on my days-off from my work. I enjoy big time.

FYI, one of my best sounding test LPs is operatic aries by Mario Lanza, my most favourite tenor. VOW ! Such timeless musical treasure only cost me $1.50 from a thrift store. Can't complain !

Listening is believing

Jack L

Tom L's picture

nobody will try to talk you out of your addiction. We're all in the same boat.

Mike Mettler's picture
...isn't there a step in there where we still have to apologize and/or ask forgiveness and/or ask permission from spouses, partners, and/or other family members regarding our always growing LP collections...?
JACK L's picture


Why ?? This is our noble hobby which gives us timeless pleasure at HOME.
Why should we need to apologize to whoever living under the same roof ??

Likewise, do we need to ask permission from our folks at home for, say, outdoor fishing & for equipping up our fishing gears from time to time ?

My wife always finds my HiFi music noisy. So I installed my audio den down my house basement with closed door since day one we moved in the house 3 decade ago. The idea is to keep my HiFi 'noise' less annoying to my wife upstairs.

If the "always growing LP collection" is getting too bulky, causing inconvenience to the household, then move whatever LPs not played so often out to the garage or outside storage rental facilities.

For yours truly, my 700-sq-ft basement get tons of space for storing up my ever-growing LP collection. For sure, I don't have to request whoever's permission for whatever involving my HIFi.

Jack L
Jack K.

avanti1960's picture

were down from the previous years because I am running out of storage and fewer "gems" were released - e.g. jazz reissues that I didn't already own.
But from 2014 to 2021 were huge for me- that's how my storage rack became filled to the brim- est. 1000 LPS during that time!

Mike Mettler's picture
avanti1960, I'm curious to know what the key factors are for you when you decide to purchase jazz reissues -- remastering, source material, packaging, extras, etc.?
Rudy's picture

It's true vinyl did outsell CDs in terms of units sold, but it's more like the bottom fell out of the CD market. From 2021 to 2022, vinyl had an increase of 3.2% in units sold, vs. a 28.4% drop in CD units sold. Vinyl's increase seems to be a natural development, where the large drop in CDs is rather curious. (The RIAA report doesn't get into the reasons behind the drop.) I like your headline here, much better than other sensationalized headlines saying it was a "remarkable resurgence," as though it were a giant triumph.

It's also true that new vinyl took a nosedive and has slowly been increasing, but I think the used vinyl market has been good all along. When everyone dumped vinyl for CDs, buyers like me enjoyed bringing home a stack of records for a couple of Jacksons over a lunch hour. (We had a phenomenal store within a half mile of the office--this was dangerous!)

As for what I buy today, I rarely buy new vinyl releases. I'm tired of the major label cash grab (don't get me started on the greedy feeding frenzy that is Record Store Day), the poor quality of pressings, and the cost that is spiraling out of control. One example--as much as I like some of the Blue Note reissues (Classic or Tone Poet series), too many have had defects to make them a reliable purchase. And as much as I'd like great sounding Steely Dan reissues, Kassem is out if his f**king mind pawning those records on Dan fans for $150. (QRP can't even center a record properly, although they've gotten a little better lately.) I'll wait for the SACDs and buy those instead, just as I buy any new releases I'm interested in as high-res digital.

But I still buy records. My Discogs wantlist is always growing, and I specifically seek out sealed new old stock records. Amazing what I've found, long out of print on vinyl and never released digitally, to keep me occupied. I'll occasionally buy used vinyl but more often than not, I'm discarding 2/3 of what I purchase due to the records being too noisy or worse, having excessive groove burn (record wear). I don't know if it's just me but in the past, I might have gotten one record out of ten that was in poor condition; now it is two in three that are unacceptable and end up in the reject pile. (Probably will donate them to the local record store as I can't sell them.) At least I have a SugarCube to salvage those "Near Mint" records that are covered in scratches...

Tom L's picture

Those "sealed new old stock records" are great, but beware of the rewrap machine! When I worked at Peaches many years ago it was common for employees to take LPs home, listen for a while, and shrink wrap them in the back room. It even happened with returned records. Quite unscrupulous, I know, but money talks. That ripoff only works if they still look new, but those machines are still around. In fact, some of those actual records might be for sale right now...

Jazz listener's picture

Vinyl did outsell CDs, by volume/units. The fact this was due in large part to CD sales tanking doesn’t really matter. CDs are much more vulnerable to streaming than vinyl, so I don’t see this being a trend that will reverse itself, but only continue on a continuing downward trend. The fact is that if you’re into digital, streaming is what most people choose. Analog has no competitor in terms of its sound signature.

Mike Mettler's picture
I appreciate your thoughtful comments here, Rudy. A few of my views about the drop in CD sales in recent times are as follows:

1) There are fewer retailers willing to stock and sell CDs. Best Buy has essentially dropped them altogether, and Barnes & Noble barely stocks much of anything on CD except big-name artists in those ever-smaller kiosks (with 10 slots on them and usually positioned near the checkout area, if even that), while other CD-inclined big-box retail outlets (like Target, etc.) barely stock them either. Limited demand, limited return. And no one has any interest in filling the void when the likes of Tower Records and Virgin Megastore vacated the retail premises -- and who could blame them for not wanting to?

2) A number of artists now consider releasing CDs as reluctant afterthoughts, and some of them don't even bother to contract for making any CDs at all, period. I've heard this directly in many a conversation I've had with artists in recent years -- the gist being, "Why bother?" Most of them instead prefer offering non-physical digital availability for their new music, or -- much more important to us here at AP -- releasing vinyl. They can actually make some coin from vinyl, and barely see much of a return from CDs. Actually, the margin on vinyl can be minimal at best for those small/medium vinyl runs, but the artists believe in the vinyl format as the best way to share their music and get across the sound they're going after in the studio.

barfle's picture

I believe Abrahan Lincoln said something about “lies, damned lies, and statistics.” They certainly don’t tell much of the story. Of course, digital media is evaporating due to streaming, so that helps explain why CD sales might be less than vinyl. Also, I’ve read a couple of reports (more statistics) that about half of the people who are buying vinyl don’t have a record player, so it’s anyone’s guess as to whether they’re buying music or visual art.

westerwick's picture

I am surprised at the sheer number of vinyl some of you guys have bought in 2022. I may have bought about 20 albums, no CDs.