Elvis Presley’s physical record sales topped all other U.S. artists last year. His total hit 125 million. Frank Sinatra followed that at 95 million and Michael Jackson at 79 million.
Vinyl record sales were rare a decade ago but have made a comeback. This shows up in the extraordinary sales of Elvis records. (Click here for the biggest comebacks in music history.)
Why did Elvis do so well? “[A] recent poll showed that 47% of Americans still consider themselves Elvis Presley fans. Particularly with the resurgence of the recent Elvis biopic, this is likely to spark interest in new fans from the latest generations,” according to TheFestivals.UK.
Sinatra is from the hit music era just before Elvis. Michael Jackson is from the period just after him. Also high on the list were Madonna, Stevie Wonder and Whitney Houston. Houston, Elvis and Sinatra are no longer alive.
Why do people want physical records made of vinyl? Apparently, in an age of digital music, they are collector’s items. Many vinyl records are sold online, ironically. One of the largest outlets is eBay.
The best-selling albums in history are from a different set of artists. According to Record Head, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” tops that list, followed by the Eagles’ “Hotel California” and AC/DC’s “Back in Black.”
Digital sales continue to lead the industry. In the first half of 2022, in the United States alone, revenue from music artists reached $7.7 billion. Most of this came from streaming services like Spotify and Apple.
Physical record sales may have made a comeback, but they will never lead the industry again.
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