Are CDs making a comeback?

What you'll learn in this post:
  • For the first time in almost 20 years, more CDs were sold in the US
  • The increase was a whopping 47%
  • Why the CD might make a return like vinyl

Is this really the dead coming back to life? CD sales reached their peak in 2004, and ever since then, fueled by piracy, downloads, and finally streaming, it’s been continuously going downhill. But now, there is a change of trend on the horizon: last year, for the first time since, the US saw an increase in CD sales reaching 46.6 million compared to the 31.6 million in 2020. That is a massive rise of 47%. Revenues, too, grew from 438.2 million dollars to 584.2 million.

Support of favorite artists

And these are just the CDs sold via the official channels. However, many fans also purchased a significant portion via web shops or directly at the concerts. So, is the CD making a comeback just as vinyl has before? And if so, why? There are several reasons: For many fans, CDs (and vinyl) are a souvenir just like a t-shirt can be. Many don’t even listen to them and continue to stream the music instead, but they still want to support the artist in additional ways.

From the perspective of the artists, CDs are much cheaper to produce than vinyl, and on top of that, they don’t come with as many supply bottlenecks as the black gold does. Correspondingly, CDs are cheaper than vinyl for the consumers, as well.

Some audiophile fans will prefer CDs and especially vinyl for their sound quality.

CDs and vinyl will not disappear

Of course, the days where CDs generated billions in profits won’t be coming back. But depending on the fanbase, it may be a good investment for many artists to have some CDs in their product line next to their other merch. It’s becoming apparent that CDs and vinyl won’t disappear into obscurity but instead will remain as a collector’s items. And this may well prove to be a nice additional source of income for musicians.