ABBA’s ‘Voyage’ is a win for vinyl records


The return of iconic Swedish pop group ABBA had a pleasant side effect: vinyl record sales skyrocketed. Travel sold around 30,000 copies in the first week alone and ended the year at number three in vinyl sales. It has even been described as “the best-selling vinyl album of the century”.

On November 5, 2021, ABBA published Travel, their first album in over 40 years. This drove vinyl sales to a high of 8% in a year that had already seen strong performance for the medium, thanks to Adele’s mega-releases (30) and Ed Sheeran (=).

To top it off, Olivia Rodrigo ACID was a surprise vinyl hit. And classic albums and compilations from Queen, Elton John and Fleetwood Mac also held up.

Meanwhile, new media like CDs and cassettes either dropped in sales or sold tiny amounts to begin with.

What makes vinyl a durable medium for new and old albums?

Looks like a vinyl record

Although streaming now accounts for 83% of music market revenue, the vinyl record is undergoing a renaissance. Vinyl sales are the highest in over three decades.

Sound quality

Above all, a vinyl record has an undeniable sonic personality. In an age of crystal-clear production and clean-sounding remasters, a real vinyl record offers a transporting listening experience.

Digital reuse often gives music a more artificial, almost metallic sound and sheen, whereas vinyl’s sound quality is lush and warm.


Vinyl records are a perfect way to keep classic albums as a keepsake. Many artists release their albums in multiple colors of vinyl. Rare vinyl versions of beloved albums are a revered collector’s item. Vinyl records are as much about theatrics as they are about music.

Music enthusiasts display record collections prominently in their homes. For example, here’s Dakota Johnson bragging about her record collection while taking a tour of the house at Architecture Digest:

The physical in the digital world

Placing a vinyl record on a record player or turntable is a musical experience par excellence. In today’s world we have been deprived of the physical experience of so many forms of media. The existence of a vinyl record, large in diameter and beautifully textured, is a feast for the senses.

The feeling is similar to the theory that pressing real tactile buttons while playing video games tends to provide more pleasure than haptic buttons.

Classic Status

.@Adele’30’ was the top-selling vinyl album of 2021 in the United States with 319,000 vinyls sold, becoming the biggest selling album of the calendar year for a Nielsen HISTORY album. #Adele30

High vinyl sales of a recent album often indicate that it is being hailed as an instant classic. by Olivia ACID is a prime example of 2021, as it’s hailed as a Gen-Z generational record. Adele’s 30, a similar record, actually broke supply chains due to excess demand.

Although vinyls aren’t as ubiquitous as they once were, they’ve certainly found their way into the mainstream. And the vinyl renaissance only seems to be heading uphill.

Note: The article reflects the personal views of the author.

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