David Bowie

David Bowie photographed on April 26, 2007. 

Vinyl sales in the United Kingdom grew by 60 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2016, according to latest figures from the labels trade body BPI.

Almost 640,000 12” albums were sold between January and March with vinyl’s share of the album market climbing to 3.9 percent – almost double that of 2.1 percent in Q1 of 2015.

The best-selling LP between January and March was David Bowie’s Blackstar, released just a couple of days before his death in January. Bowie also had three of the top 10 vinyl albums in the first quarter: compilation record Nothing Has Changed – The Very Best Of and a deluxe reissue of 1972's The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust.

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The second highest-selling LP between January and March was Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black, with Manchester indie act The 1975 landing the period’s third best-selling LP with its sophomore effort I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It.

In the Official Vinyl Singles Chart, Bowie again ruled the roost, with four singles in the top 10, including the biggest selling vinyl single of Q1 with "Golden Years." Other artists in the singles top included The 1975, Massive Attack, Jeff Buckley, Blossoms and New Order.

As previously reported, vinyl album sales hit a 21 year-high in the U.K. last year with 2.1 million units sold in 2015. It was the eighth successive year in which vinyl sales grew. If the once redundant product continues to sell at a similar rate to Q1 throughout the rest of the year, BPI says that LP sales in 2016 will cross the 3 million barrier and could possibly exceed 3.5 million – a level that hasn’t been reached in the U.K. since the 1980s.    

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“Vinyl is no longer the preserve of baby-boomers who grew up with the format,” commented Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive BPI & BRIT Awards. “It now also appeals to a new generation of engaged younger fans and millennials. While digital platforms provide fans instant and unlimited access to an ever-expanding cosmos of music, they can’t quite match the unique experience vinyl gives you.”

 “As we celebrate the first birthday of the Official Vinyl Charts, it is encouraging to see the resurgence of this much-loved format continuing apace in 2016,” added Martin Talbot, Chief Executive, Official Charts Company.

The strong Q1 figures arrive a day before the ninth annual Record Store (introduced in the U.K. in 2008, a year after its U.S. debut), which traditionally sees a spike in vinyl sales. This year there will be 230 independent retailers taking part in the U.K. with 250 labels releasing one-off exclusive vinyl product for the day.