Unsurprisingly, most of the UK’s best-selling albums are longtime favorites. Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors (1977) is expected to take first place this year, followed by Oasis’ (What’s the story) Morning Glory (1995) and Amy Winehouse’s Back to black (2006). However, some new releases are expected to break through the top 10. Harry Styles is expected to make number five with his second effort. Fine line (2019), followed by Kylie Minogue’s Disco (2020) and AC / DC Power Up (2020). Idles’s Ultra Mono (2020) is expected to slide to number nine, followed by the Arctic Monkeys charity album Live at the Royal Albert Hall (2020). This is a promising sign for any artist unable to make any money from live performances yet.
Vinyl is not the only retro format to make a comeback. This humble cassette is expected to reach 157,000 UK sales this year. A tiny figure compared to vinyl, but double what the format achieved in 2019. According to the BPI, this is the highest total since 2003 – the year 50 Cent Get rich or die trying came out – when 243,000 tapes were sold in the UK. Surprisingly, the best-selling tape list shares little with its vinyl-based counterpart. Lady Gaga Chromatica expected to be number one in UK, followed by 5 Second of Summer’s Calm and Yungblud’s Weird.
Not surprisingly, streaming is the way most people listen to music in the UK. The BPI says it now accounts for “around 80%” of tapping in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. But the trade association, which represents the UK recorded music industry, sees vinyl and cassettes as complementary formats. People use services like Spotify and Apple Music for their daily listening, he argues, but collect highly rated records on vinyl, cassette and CDs. Others support their favorite artists by purchasing music digitally through platforms such as Bandcamp and iTunes. Streaming services and YouTube have also become powerful discovery tools that help people find their next physical acquisition.
“The immediacy and convenience of streaming makes it the go-to audio format for most of our listening, but more and more fans are choosing to get closer to their favorite artists and albums on vinyl,” Geoff Taylor, CEO of BPI, the BRIT Awards and Mercury Prize said in a press release.