CD sales increased for the first time since 2004

How’s that for a fun statistic? According to Billboard, CD sales (remember that?) actually increased for the first time since everyone you know got their first iPod. That’s right, your eyes don’t fool you.

In 2021, sales increased 6.3% year-on-year to a total of 108.98 million. This number was up from 102.48 million units in 2020.

So how did CD sales increase? Well, you can thank the holy pop trinity of Adele, Taylor Swift, and BTS. Adele sold nearly 900,000 CDs in 2021, reminiscent of the good old days of the 90s. As for Swift, Intrepid sold 263,000 records, Red 237,000 and last year always 213,000. We assume you can call it CD sales (Taylor version).

During this time, BTS sold 210,000 copies of Soul Card: 7 and To be moved 187,000 units. Without forgetting Gen Z, the first album of Olivia Rodrigo Sour sold 195,000. Yes, CDs!

So to put it all in perspective, the last time compact disc sales were up, Zune was still a thing, Blink-182 didn’t break up, and AIM was the preferred online communication. Oh, and you were probably reading this in a print magazine, preferably (probably? Hopefully?) This one. That’s enough nostalgia for one day.

But hey, if CD sales can increase, then anything is possible in 2022! Maybe even laser discs could come back in 2022. You never know.

Jack L. Goldstein