Sony is restarting production of vinyl records after 30 years. That's pretty surprising. Even more surprising to me though is one of the reasons provided:

in 2016, a format nearly a century old generated 3.6 percent of total global revenues

Now I'm guessing that by global revenues they mean in the music sales market. That sounds astronomically high.

Did vinyl sales account for 3.6% of the music sales market (or any other market) in 2016?

  • Maybe those old vinyl records go for high prices nowadays. Just like other antiques. Let's see ... Elvis Presley's first recording, "My Happiness," sold at auction for $300,000. Maybe just a few sales like that could equal your 3.6 percent.
    – GEdgar
    Commented Jun 30, 2017 at 0:40
  • @GEdgar I would highly doubt it. I suspect that would be vastly over-shadowed by digital music sales. Also I think they mean newly made vinyl, not some original copies from 60 years ago. Commented Jun 30, 2017 at 0:45
  • This actually doesn't sound that unreasonable to me. In the United States at least vinyl has had a bit of a resurgence as a quasi-collectors edition release. I seem to recall that Barnes & Nobles carried vinyl awhile back of major artists (e.g., Taylor Swift) and the records typically included a download code for the MP3s as well (ex., store.taylorswift.com/1989-VINYL.html ).
    – rjzii
    Commented Jun 30, 2017 at 2:22
  • Why do you find it surprising? Vinyl costs way more than digital, so revenue is higher per album. And there are plenty of people who love this format, for their own reasons. Classic rock, blues, jazz, etc., are very popular on vinyl. If you look at best sellers, lots of older albums are still sold a lot on vinyl, only few of them are new releases. (Also, unlike digital, they do age, so I assume some people would buy reissues to replace older ones).
    – sashkello
    Commented Jun 30, 2017 at 2:57
  • 2
    Okay, we've established that in some people's opinions, this factoid is astonishing, and in some people's opinions it is mundane. That makes it perfect for Skeptics.SE, but let's not discuss our opinions any further here.
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Jun 30, 2017 at 3:54

1 Answer 1


Billboard published an article summarizing the report on which this claim is based: China Rising & Downloads Falling: 5 Takeaways From the IFPI's Global Music Report.

The reported total recorded music sales in 2016 was $15.7 billion. Of that, $563.6 million was from vinyl sales.

That's 3.6% when rounded to the nearest tenth of a percent.

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