Media Release: Strong Q1 LP sales show that demand for vinyl continues to surge


Record Store Day expected to provide further boost as LP unit sales head towards the three million-plus mark

Posthumous sales of David Bowie ‘Blackstar’ and catalogue recordings dominate Q1 Official Vinyl Charts

WITH music fans eagerly anticipating tomorrow’s annual celebration of Record Store Day1 at independent record stores across the UK, the BPI – the record labels’ organisation which promotes British music – can report that the surge in demand for the LP format continues to strengthen.

The best part of 640,000 (637,056) LP albums were purchased by music buyers, including a growing number of engaged younger consumers, between January and March this year according to the latest data supplied to the BPI by the Official Charts.

This represents an increase of over 60 per cent (61.8 per cent) on the corresponding three-month quarter a year ago, with vinyl’s share of the album market nearly doubling to 3.9 per cent (from 2.1 per cent in Q1 2015) during this time.

This pattern follows a similar rate of growth of 64 per cent for all of 2015, when LP sales climbed for an eighth successive year to 2.1 million units – a 21-year high.

Such a trend continued across 2016 would ensure that LP unit sales smash the milestone of three million sales by year-end, and could even exceed the 3.5 million mark – a figure that most likely hasn’t been seen since the end of the 1980s.

Explaining the surge in demand for vinyl, Geoff Taylor, chief executive BPI and BRIT Awards, said: “Vinyl is no longer the preserve of baby-boomers who grew up with the format.  It now also appeals to a new generation of engaged younger fans and millennials.

“While digital platforms provide fans instant and unlimited access to an ever-expanding cosmos of music, they can’t quite match the unique experience vinyl gives you: browsing for rare gems in your favourite record store, poring over the cover art and sleeve notes and enjoying the ritual of carefully dropping the stylus onto an LP and savouring its analogue sound. Younger fans increasingly discover on digital but collect on vinyl.”

The biggest-selling LP title of the first quarter, unsurprisingly perhaps following the icon’s unexpected passing, was David Bowie’s Blackstar, although it’s likely this release would have performed strongly on vinyl in any event. In just three months, to 31st March, Blackstar sold nearly twice as many copies on LP as the top vinyl seller for all 2015 – Adele’s 25 (though it should be noted that this title, too, achieved its sales in a single quarter following its release in November).

David Bowie also posthumously accounted for three of the top ten LPs in Q1, with another title at No.11 in the Official Vinyl Charts. There were also four David Bowie recordings in the top ten best-selling singles of the quarter, including Golden Years at No.1 on the Official Chart and Space Oddity at No.3. See Official Vinyl Chart Q1 Top Ten Albums and Singles below.

Commenting on the most popular releases in Q1, Martin Talbot, chief executive, Official Charts Company, said: “As we celebrate the first birthday of the Official Vinyl Charts, it is encouraging to see the resurgence of this much-loved format continuing apace in 2016.

“It is entirely fitting that Bowie’s final release, Blackstar, is the album that Britain’s vinyl shoppers have taken to their hearts in droves so far this year, proving the Starman’s lasting impact on the charts, and the nation’s record collections, for undoubtedly many more years to come.”

A year on from the launch of the first-ever Official Vinyl Chart2, much of the impetus behind the vinyl revival has come from Record Store Day, which has been organised by the Entertainment Retailers Association in conjunction with its membership of independent record stores since its launch in 2008, and is sure to give vinyl sales another huge boost.

Specialist chains such as hmv and Fopp are also dedicating more floor space to vinyl, while in recent months supermarkets, Tesco and Sainsbury’s, have started stocking the format.

Speaking ahead of RSD, Kim Bayley, chief executive ERA, said: “With the ninth anniversary of Record Store Day upon us, these extraordinary growth figures demonstrate the huge appeal of vinyl across all generations.

“It’s no surprise that the event is often credited as one of the driving forces behind the vinyl revival.

“This year’s Record Store Day aims to cater for as many music fans as possible with 230 independent retailers taking part and 250 different labels releasing one-off exclusive vinyl product for the day.”

There are also signs that a growing number of fans now consume their favourite music across a mix of complementary formats, with vinyl playing a key role in this.

Joint research commissioned by BPI/ERA from Audience.Net in November 20153 shows that two-thirds (66 per cent) of music buyers consider themselves ‘multi-channellers’ – increasingly turning to streaming services to discover and engage with new and favourite recordings before purchasing the music they particularly love on physical formats to own, gift and collect.

Fans now have more ways to access and enjoy a vast range of music than ever before, with space in this multi-channel ecosystem for the vinyl format to thrive alongside CD, which continues to show its resilience, and digital music platforms.

The most popular releases on vinyl typically come from iconic heritage acts such as Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Stone Roses and Oasis, and more recently the likes of Arctic Monkeys and Royal Blood.

That said, in 2015 the bestselling titles came from Adele and Amy Winehouse, particularly in the run up to Christmas, which suggests that vinyl is also becoming a popular gifting format – in fact, in December 2015, entertainment retailer hmv reported that its stores were selling a turntable every minute.

Chart 1:  Official Vinyl Chart Top Ten Albums: Jan – Mar Q1 2016 @ Official Charts

1.                      David Bowie                              Blackstar

2.                      Amy Winehouse                     Back to Black

3.                      The 1975                                     I Like It When You Sleep

4.                      Adele                                           25

5.                      The Stone Roses                     The Stone Roses

6.                      David Bowie                              Nothing Has Changed – The Very Best Of

7.                      Various Artists                         Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix 1 – Original Soundtrack

8.                      David Bowie                              Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust

9.                      Bob Marley & The Wailers  Legend

10.                   Fleetwood Mac                       Rumours

Chart 2:  Official Vinyl Chart Top Ten Singles: Jan – Mar Q1 2016 @ Official Charts

1.                      David Bowie                              Golden Years

2.                      The 1975                                     A Change of Heart

3.                      David Bowie                              Space Oddity

4.                      Massive Attack ft. Azekel    Ritual Spirit

5.                      Jeff Buckley                              The Boy With The Thorn In His Side

6.                      David Bowie                              Fame

7.                      Blossoms                                    At Most A Kiss

8.                      New Order                                Singularity

9.                      PJ Harvey                                   The Wheel

10.                   David Bowie                              Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime)



BPI +44 (0)20 7803 1326 / +44 (0)7801 194 139

Official Charts +44 (0)20 7620 7458

Record Store Day/ERA +44 (0)20 7440 3291 / +44 (0)7919 050 065

Notes to editors:

About the BPI

The BPI was formed in 1973 and is a representative voice of the UK recorded music business. It promotes recorded music in the UK and worldwide, including through its overseas trade missions and the Music Export Growth Scheme, and it champions the rights of a broad range of members though its copyright protection work.

Its membership is made up of hundreds of independent music labels and the UK’s three major record companies, who collectively account for around 85 per cent of the recorded music consumed in the UK – the world’s third largest music market.

About Official Charts Company

The Official Charts Company are the providers of the UK’s only official music and video charts, as seen at, on BBC Radio 1, MTV, Music Week, The Sun, Daily Mirror, Daily Star and many more. Compiling its charts purely from sales information gathered across all key distribution (or entertainment) channels including all major high street retail chains, independent stores, supermarkets, mail order internet retailers and digital music service providers. This market research sample equates to 99 per cent of the total UK singles market; 98 per cent of the total UK albums market and 90 per cent of the total UK DVD market.

The Official Charts Company is a joint venture between record labels’ body the BPI and ERA, the Entertainment Retailers Association. The Official Charts Company are responsible for the commissioning, marketing, distribution and management of the UK’s industry standard music charts and industry sales data.


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About ERA

ERA is the trade association representing the vast majority of retailers and digital services offering music, video and games. Its members range from independent record shops (Reflex, Sister Ray) to digital services (Spotify, Netflix, Deezer, 7digital, Sky Store) to online retailers (Amazon) to specialist High Street operators (HMV, Game) and supermarkets (Tesco, Sainsburys, Asda, Morrisons).

ERA members supply the sales data which powers the Official Charts Company (music and video charts) and GfK Chart-Track (videogames). Together with record companies trade association, the BPI, it owns the Official Charts Company.

ERA provides the organisational force behind Record Store Day, the annual celebration of independent record stores which has become the most successful new music industry promotion of the past two decades.

ERA works closely with its sister organisations in music, video and games and is a strong proponent of open markets, open standards and consumer choice.

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