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Music on vinyl beats out CDs in 2021

Year end 2021 reports include the news that music CD sales have lost to vinyl records for the first time in decades. According to music data provider MRC Data (, vinyl album sales outpaced CDs for the first time in MRC Data history (since 1991).

The Icon contacted Ada’s Retro Music Ltd. for a local perspective. Owner Chad Smith explained that with new cars no longer providing CD players, the format is dying. In addition, CDs and their cases are relatively fragile items.

Vinyl albums, by comparison, are a more durable and collectible choice–as well as more expensive. The Ada vinyl record shop at 4171 SR 235 sells second-hand albums and singles, not new vinyl, because of pricing. Older, well-cared for vinyl cleans up well and lasts, notes Smith.

Younger shoppers who are discovering vinyl come to the shop as well as older listeners who are returning to vinyl–and those who have always preferred the superior quality listening quality of vinyl records.

The MRC report also showed that overall music product consumption grew 11.3% in 2021 with a 12.6% increase in on-demand audio streaming. Audio streaming of current music (music released less than 18 months ago) declined. Older music accounted for 70% in 2021 vs 65% in 2020.