Vinyl and compact discs take over in the 2020s


Makayla White

This is a typical record stand setup.

Entering a new year, trends in music and fashion seem to be miraculously reversing in time. From the mullet comeback to mom jeans and high top converse, our favorite trends are heavily inspired by the 70s and 80s trends that our parents were rocking so long ago.

It really escalated when sales of physical copies of music rose by almost 30% before the end of 2022, according to The last week of 2022 was the biggest sales week for vinyl in 30 years.

Not only are vinyls making an awaited comeback but so are compact discs (CDs) which surprisingly increased by over 110 million dollars in sales in 2022. Considering 2022 marked 40 years since CDs were put on the market in 1982, no one was prepared for the resurgence in sales.

Taylor Swift helped the comeback by selling 1.3 million CDs and 1.1 million vinyl records of her new album “Midnights” making her the highest seller of 2022 for physical music. To think someone like Taylor Swift was the top contributor to physical music sales is quite astonishing. The top three sellers of CDs (of all time) are the Beatles, Garth Brook and Elvis. Adding Taylor Swift to that list sounds like the start to a bad joke and may be controversial, considering rock and metal culture revolves around CDs and vinyls.

In an interview with Big Fudge, Lars Ulrich of Metallica put it best when he said “It’s the ritual element of it. It’s running your finger down the side to try to open the plastic wrap, and usually cutting that part under your nail. Then pulling it out, and seeing if there’s an inner sleeve, and hoping for a gatefold. Nowadays, you just walk over to your computer, you click three times, and you have 140,000 songs at your fingertips. It was just a different kind of thing – and it still is.”

Vinyl is not as convenient as Spotify or Apple Music, but it’s an entirely different experience. Something is so fulfilling about supporting your favorite artist and holding the music that you love in your hands.

Joe Ryan ‘23 said, “Some albums just work better as a physical album instead of shuffling through the individual songs. Like Pink Floyd’s concept albums, the songs have to be played in a certain order.” He added, “I really like how CDs make me listen to all of the songs on the album instead of just the one that I like. It helps me discover lots of new music.”