Ed Sheeran and Gallagher brothers lead vinyl revival at HMV

Demand soars across all genres, with Sheeran’s Divide on track to be retailer’s biggest selling vinyl record of the year

HMV is predicting its biggest year for vinyl music sales since the late 80s as records make a comeback on the UK’s Christmas wish lists.

The music retailer said demand was soaring across all genres, with Ed Sheeran’s Divide on track to be its biggest selling vinyl record of the year, followed by the solo efforts of Liam and Noel Gallagher, formerly of Oasis, in second and third place.

John Hirst, music manager at HMV, said: “A strong year for new releases from artists such as Ed Sheeran and Rag’n’Bone Man has been followed up with a really strong back end, with the Gallagher brothers driving the LP sales into the final quarter.”

Music fans are falling back in love with vinyl in a big way. The BPI, the industry’s trade body, predicts UK sales of vinyl albums will exceed 4m – the highest since it began collecting data in the early 90s.

Britons bought 3.2m LPs last year, a rise of 53% on 2015 and the largest number since 1991, when Stars by Simply Red was the bestselling album.

The current boom has been fuelled by nostalgia surrounding the deaths of artists such as Prince and David Bowie, who was the bestselling vinyl artist of 2016, with five albums featuring posthumously in the top 30.

With the 11-year-old Back to Black album by the late Amy Winehouse also in HMV’s vinyl top five, ahead of Human by Rag’n’Bone Man, the sales data points to consumers also turning to older, classic albums.

Hirst said: “Sales also continue to soar across our back catalogue, perhaps as people use streaming as a discovery tool alongside wanting to browse and collect physical music formats.”

The vinyl surge resulted in the first rise in physical music sales in a decade in the first six months of 2017, up 2.5% to £198m, according to the Entertainment Retailers Association.

In the same period, streaming and downloads on services such as Spotify and Apple Music increased in value by 16.6% year on year to £366.6m, accounting for two-thirds of the £564m music sales total in the UK.

The vinyl revival has helped offset the decline of the CD, with sales up 37.6% to £37.3m in the period, led by Sheeran, with the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack and the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band also making the the top five sellers in first half of 2017. The growing popularity of the format led to the return of the top 10 and top 40 vinyl charts in 2015.

HMV rings up a third of all LP sales in the UK and, with sales up 31% on last year, its success points to another bumper year for vinyl.

The retailer, the last surviving high street music chain on the high street with 132 stores, expects to sell 1.5m records this year – more than the entire album market in 1994.

The success of a format that once looked set to go the way of the cassette and the MiniDisc has encouraged Sainsbury’s to launch a line of own-brand vinyl albums in the run-up to Christmas.

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Zoe Wood

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