Here's some good news for the music industry: Last year's vinyl-record sales were the highest they've been in 15 years.
The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, which represents the worldwide recording industry, released its annual statistics report Monday, and with it came the news that vinyl sales hit $177 million -- an 18-percent uptick, according to Nielsen SoundScan. That's the highest figure since 1997, when vinyl-friendly bands like Radiohead and Spiritualized released, respectively, "OK Computer" and "Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space."
The highest-selling vinyl album of 2012 was Jack White's Grammy-nominated solo effort "Blunderbuss," selling 34,000 units. White's album unseated The Beatles' "Abbey Road," which came in at No. 2 on the list after taking the top spot during each of the previous three years. Other top sellers included Mumford & Sons' "Babel," The Black Keys' "El Camino" and Adele's "21," according to Nielsen.
Some music companies are seeking incentives to boost vinyl sales. Amazon recently announced that it will provide vinyl buyers with a free digital download of the respective album purchased.
But with every bright spot in the volatile recording industry seems to come an alternative that doesn't fare quite as well. While vinyl records saw a surge, overall sales of physical albums across formats saw a decline of 5 percent worldwide and 13 percent in the United States. CD sales fell 13.5 percent domestically.
As expected, things are looking good for digital music: Those revenues rose 14 percent in 2012.