Music Sales in 2018: Discogs Mid-Year Marketplace Analysis & Database Highlights

We’re somehow already past the halfway point of 2018, which means one thing for you vinyl trend watchers: It’s time for us to crack open our books and reveal the data we’ve collected from the Discogs Database and Marketplace for a better look at music sales in 2018 and Discogs’ growth. And, once again, we’re comparing some of our numbers to the Nielsen Music Mid-Year Report. The Nielsen report provides comprehensive insights into what people are listening to and how they are listening. This data informs our understanding of how the music industry – and music consumers – are changing.

Mid-Year Highlights:

  • Nielsen Music is reporting that physical album sales are down again for 2018 (-14.6%), while Discogs’ Marketplace sales are up, with a 10.2% increase in orders and 15.8% increase in revenue.
  • The most popular format sold so far in 2018 has been vinyl, with an increase in sales orders year-over-year (+14.97%). However, cassettes have seen the most growth in sales orders (+35.19%).
  • Vinyl and CD submissions to the Discogs Database have both decreased slightly (-3.13% and -1.47%, respectively), while cassettes and other formats (a combination of digital releases and physical media) have increased (+8.96% and +4.50%, respectively) for a net increase in submissions (+12.32%).
  • The most popular genres sold in the Discogs Marketplace are Rock, Electronic, and Funk/Soul. However, both the Classical (+37.82%) and Latin (+35.07%) genres have seen a sizable year-over-year increase in sales.

Dive deeper into the state of the music industry with some infographics, and download the full report.

Growth in Physical Music Sales on Discogs in 2018

Top 10 vinyl record sales of 2018, Nielsen Music data compared to Discogs marketplace data

Discogs Database Submissions Growth in the first half of 2018

Get the full song and dance on music sales in 2018. Download our Discogs 2018 Mid-Year Database & Marketplace Analysis.

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  • Aug 27,2018 at 00:30

    Jtm1967 – Who cares if the medium is devalued? Speculators, that’s who.

  • Aug 26,2018 at 18:38

    Just a few ramblings from a long time collector. I love the site on my web browser and hate it on the app. It’s not user friendly when in the mobile app.
    As for the vinyl hobby I am noticing a trend that destroyed the baseball card collecting mania 30 years ago!!! That trend in too many reissues and labels flooding the market and devaluing the medium as a result. The reissues are in most cases are not necessary and are of crap quality due to the demand and lack of quality control (not enough plants and cutting quality standards to push pressings to meet demand). If it continues you can kiss vinyl goodbye for another 20 years when everything appears to repeat itself

  • Aug 25,2018 at 11:29

    To the Napster guy above…at least the artist still gets paid for new vinyl sales versus YouTube and spotify garbage.

  • Aug 20,2018 at 21:05

    When you say vinyl are you including shellac? If so, why?

  • Aug 20,2018 at 18:25

    Your links at the bottom of the page seem to be broken.

  • Aug 19,2018 at 00:47

    I feel most about submitting open reel tape. And there are some artists for whom I am the most contributing submitter. Like Bowie, Steppenwolf, Zappa and Miles Davis. But collecting open reel tape is very very very expensive. My open reel tape subs are counted as Digital & Other in the overview above. it ought to be called Digital & Analogue Other.

  • Aug 18,2018 at 18:14

    Too bad recent vinyl sales are mostly for “deep catalog”: proven, popular artists that usually do not own their catalog anymore but are legally in the hands of the major labels, the very major labels that the Napster generation rebelled against for greed and heralded the age of the illegal downloads.

    Most indy artists still use the CD as their format of choice and cannot afford to put out vinyl and have it sit in storage unsold unless they get picked up by one of the bigger indy labels who might take a chance on them, and even then, their product does not sell more than a mere few hundred copies. This is all not reflected in this data.

    CD manufacturing today is cost effective and cheaper to mail. Go out and buy a new CD player. You will be amazed at how the sound technology has advanced today. And in return, support the truly independent musician again.

  • Aug 18,2018 at 03:11

    Totally agree with Relicusrex. Discogs is THE database I was waiting for. Keep up the gold work !

  • Aug 16,2018 at 16:30

    Something wrong with the calculation about database submission formats…? Please re-check your 2018 numbers, the total seems miscalculated.

  • Aug 16,2018 at 16:25

    I see that cd’s are still strong – submissions are 2/3 of vinyls. But if someone doesn’t know this popularity of cd’s he could think there is only one medium: VINYL! VINYL! VINYL! Because it get hyped those days and cd’s are under the radar. :-(
    I love discogs and I still (and will forever) love compact disc!

  • Aug 16,2018 at 16:12

    Hello, with all the money you make please use it to make your webpage better, your search engine better and totally replace the phone app because it sucks. Also remove double entries and try to get the artists in one place instead of different places. Please do finally something for the people who pay you. Bye guus

  • Aug 16,2018 at 02:51

    I hope you people up in Oregon are getting filthy rich with this program. Why? you provide such an incredible program for us out in collector world. For years I struggled silently and painfully with my jazz music- never any hope for legitimate information. The typical jazz dealer helping me out… “Oh, that album is trash but I will give you $.5o cents for it is it perfectly clean”. Then they resold it for $50. Now I have access to incredible research files and help from hundreds of people just like me. Keep up the good work and thanks again. Rex

  • Aug 15,2018 at 23:07

    I never left vinyl and sure am happy to see its return as far as I’m concerned VINYL IS FINAL!!! :)

  • Aug 15,2018 at 21:57

    Not that surprising that more cassettes are being listed. Even if weren’t having an uptick in popularity, there simply have been fewer cassette version of a particular release listed to the database. Though we can see more people willing to admit they did collect the little shells. Maybe 8-Tracks will have their day again, soon.

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