CD Sales Are Up for the First Time In 17 Years

The format largely has Adele and Taylor Swift to thank
CD Sales Are Up for the First Time In 17 Years
On the heels of more record-breaking vinyl sales stats, there is still hope for the CD yet, with compact disc album sales figures increasing for the first time in nearly two decades.

According to a year-end sales statistic report from MRC Data and Billboard, compact disc sales reached 40.59 million units last year, up 1.1 percent from 40.16 million units sold in 2020. Billboard notes that increase marks the first yearly gain in CD sales since 2004.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this increase comes in large part due to top-selling megastars — namely Adele. Not only is her recent album 30 the top-selling album across all physical and digital formats, it's also the top-selling CD album of 2021 (898,000 sold). For all the flak she unfairly received over 30's effect on the already beleaguered vinyl pressing industry, some words of support from the CD-buying crowd would surely go a long way.

Following Adele, Taylor Swift holds down the next two positions when it comes to 2021 CD sales, with her re-recorded versions of Fearless (263,000 sold) and Red (237,000 sold) sitting in the second and third spot, respectively. Perhaps the latter's figures picked up after fans found the Red vinyl to be defective before being brought up to speed on LP rotations per minute.

Swift's Evermore also makes the cut with 213,000 CD copies sold, earning it sixth position on the list. Elsewhere, K-pop phenoms BTS have a pair of albums on the list, with Map of the Soul: 7 at eighth with 210,000 CD copies sold, and Be at tenth with 187,000 copies sold.

You can find the list of top 10 selling CD albums for 2021 down below — which also features Olivia Rodrigo, Carrie Underwood and more — before finding out which of these efforts are among Exclaim!'s 50 Best Albums of 2021.

Find the complete year-end sales report from MRC Data and Billboard here.

Top 10 Selling CD Albums of 2021 (United States):

1. Adele, 30 (898,000)
2. Taylor Swift, Fearless (Taylor's Version) (263,000)
3. Taylor Swift, Red (Taylor's Version) (237,000)
4. Carrie Underwood, My Savior (217,000)
5. TOMORROW X TOGETHER, The Chaos Chapter: Freeze (215,000)
6. Taylor Swift, Evermore (213,000)
7. NCT 127 – Sticker: The 3rd Album (211,000)
8. BTS, Map of the Soul: 7 (210,000)
9. Olivia Rodrigo, Sour (195,000)
10. BTS, Be (187,000)