Annual sales of vinyl albums have soared past the million mark for the first time in 18 years – buoyed by veteran rock act Pink Floyd.
The format has been undergoing a renaissance with sales gradually increasing in recent years and it has now hit the seven-figure mark for the first time since 1996, only 11 months into the year.
Floyd’s first new release for 20 years, The Endless River, helped the figures sail over the million mark as it topped the chart at the weekend, according to new figures released by music industry body BPI.
And its vinyl sales of 6,000 in just a week are also the highest of any album since 1997.
Acts such as rock duo Royal Blood have helped to fuel the vinyl revival in recent months and the final figure for 2014 could be as high as 1.2 million according to projections, with the usual rush for Christmas purchases.
That would outstrip the 1.083 million sold in 1996, and be the highest since 1995 when they totalled 1.41 million.
This year’s running total is already hugely ahead of the 780,674 vinyl albums which sold in 2013.
The best-selling vinyl album of the year to date is AM by Arctic Monkeys, which was released in the summer of 2013.
Martin Talbot, chief executive of the Official Charts Company which compiled the figures, said: “In scoring the biggest opening week for a vinyl album this millennium, Pink Floyd’s The Endless River illustrates the British public’s renewed love for this format, which is on course to become a £20 million business this year – an incredible turnaround from barely £3 million just five years ago.
“This resurgence also underlines music fans’ continuing fascination with the album.”
Rock music has been the driver of vinyl sales with many acts keen to release albums on the format, reckoning it is still the true essence of rock and roll.
BPI spokesman Gennaro Castaldo said: “We have entered an exciting best-of-all-worlds era where there is space and scope for all kinds of music to be discovered and enjoyed in every type of way, including on vinyl once again.
“Many of us assumed it had become an obsolete format, but while the flame may have flickered, it never quite went out, and we are now seeing a burgeoning resurgence in demand led by exciting new acts such as Royal Blood that is likely to keep vinyl on our high streets for many more years to come.”
Despite the swelling sales it continues to be only a minor contributor to the UK’s music sales market, accounting for around 2%, while the fastest growing sector – streaming – makes up 10%.
This year’s total is almost five-times the level of sales at their 2007 low-point of just 205,000.
Interest in vinyl has also been pushed in recent years by the annual Record Store Day for which many labels create limited edition releases.
Music giant Universal Music is releasing a number of vinyl singles next month by acts such as The Who and The Beatles in its 12 Days Of Christmas campaign.