Skip to content

CD Sales Increased for the First Time Since 2004

Back when you were still fidgeting with an iPod
(Credit: ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP via Getty Images)

How’s this for a fun stat? According to Billboard, CD sales (remember those?) actually increased in sales for the first time since everyone you knew got their first iPod. That’s right, your eyes don’t deceive you.

In 2021, sales increased by 6.3% year-over-year totaling 108.98 million. That number was up from the 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, harkening back to the good ol’ 1990s. As for Swift, Fearless sold 263,000 discs, Red 237,000 and last year’s evermore 213,000. We guess you can call this “CD sales (Taylor’s Version).”

Meanwhile, BTS sold 210,000 copies of Map of the Soul: 7 and Be moved 187,000 units. Not to leave out Gen Z, Olivia Rodrigo’s debut album, Sour, sold 195,000. Yes, CDs!

So to put all in perspective, the last time compact disc sales went 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 (likely? 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 laserdiscs could come back in 2022. You just never know.