According to the British Phonographic Industry, sales of vinyl in the United Kingdom crested above 3 million units. This is the highest figure for UK vinyl sales since 1991. The final tally of 3.2 million albums sold marked an increase of 53% over the number from 2015.
While a jump of this size is impressive, it's important to note that physical vinyl vinyl records only made up for 2.6% of the total music market in the UK. Compact Disc sales were down again in 2016, but still accounted for 47.3 million units and download sales dropped by a staggering 29.6% to 18.1 million.
The BPI data also revealed an interesting fact of the vinyl market. Just two of the ten most popular titles of the year featured new music. David Bowie's final LP Blackstar was the highest selling vinyl album of 2016 while Radiohead's A Moon Shaped Pool clocked in at #4 on the list. The rest of the top ten list features a list of titles at least ten years old.
TEN BEST SELLING UK ALBUMS OF 2016
1. David Bowie - Blackstar
2. Amy Winehouse - Back To Black
3. Various Artists - Guardians Of The Galaxy Mix 1
4. Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool
5. Fleetwood Mac - Rumours
6. The Stone Roses - Stone Roses
7. Bob Marley - Legend
8. The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
9. Prince - Purple Rain
10. Nirvana - Nevermind
In 2016, streaming continued to soar, according to BPI statistics. Approximately 45 billion audio streams took place during the year, which is the equivalent of each British household streaming something like 1,500 songs during 2016.
As if that data weren't overwhelming evidence of digital streaming patterns the BPI stipulates that the figure of 45 billion do not include video streaming from sites like YouTube. The BPI estimates that once video streams are calculated, the total streaming total will reach 100 billion in total. In short, vinyl is on an upswing, but it has hardly become the primary way that folks in the United Kingdom get their music.