Cassette sales climb to their highest in the UK in 17 years: The Official Top 40 best-sellers of 2020 revealed

Sales of cassettes doubled in 2020 compared to the previous year.

Cassette sales almost doubled in 2020 to their highest level in 17 years.

The unlikely revival of the humble cassette has been gathering pace since 2018, with sales steadily increasing as more artists release their latest albums on the retro format. 

According to the end-of-year report by music industry body the BPI, sales were up 94.7% in 2020 compared to the previous year, with 156,542 cassettes sold in the UK – the highest total since 2003.

Sales on the format remain tiny in the context of the overall music market (around 0.2%), but the increase shows the cassette revival is far from over yet.

The UK's best-selling cassette of 2020 was Lady Gaga's Chromatica, which sold 14,000 copies on the format, according to Official Charts Company data. 8,600 of those were sold in its first week, when the record debuted at Number 1 on the Official Albums Chart with impressive opening week chart sales of 53,000.

MORE: The Official Top 40 biggest albums of 2020

5 Seconds Of Summer's latest album CALM finished 2020 close behind Gaga with 13,000 cassette sales, while Yungblud's Weird - a chart-topper in December - is in third on 7,700 sales.

The popularity of cassettes appears not to be limited to one particular genre, instead favouring acts who have harnessed a fanbase of avid collectors: albums by The 1975, Kylie Minogue, Haim, The Streets, Gorillaz, Michael Ball & Alfie Boe and AC/DC all appear in the top sellers of 2020.

The rise in cassette sales also demonstratees the fan appeal of music in tangible formats as a complement to streaming, which rose to new record highs in 2020. Drew Hill, MD Proper Music Distribution, said: "As we celebrate this streaming boom, it’s important we also remember the ongoing fan demand for something tangible, and recognise that streaming and physical music coexist quite happily."

Official Top 40 best-selling cassettes of 2020

POS TITLE ARTIST
1 CHROMATICA LADY GAGA
2 CALM 5 SECONDS OF SUMMER
3 WEIRD YUNGBLUD
4 NOTES ON A CONDITIONAL FORM 1975
5 THE ALBUM BLACKPINK
6 RARE SELENA GOMEZ
7 DISCO KYLIE MINOGUE
8 FUTURE NOSTALGIA DUA LIPA
9 WOMEN IN MUSIC - PT 3 HAIM
10 NONE OF US ARE GETTING OUT OF THIS LIFE STREETS
11 ALL DISTORTIONS ARE INTENTIONAL NECK DEEP
12 SONG MACHINE SEASON ONE - STRANGE TIMEZ GORILLAZ
13 WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS STEPS
14 TOGETHER AT CHRISTMAS MICHAEL BALL & ALFIE BOE
15 MUSIC PLAYED BY HUMANS GARY BARLOW
16 YOUNG DUMB THRILLS MCFLY
17 ORDINARY MAN OZZY OSBOURNE
18 BRIGHTEST BLUE ELLIE GOULDING
19 WALLS LOUIS TOMLINSON
20 DEEP DOWN HAPPY SPORTS TEAM
21 POSITIONS ARIANA GRANDE
22 A CELEBRATION OF ENDINGS BIFFY CLYRO
23 MAMA'S BOY LANY
24 NOTHING IS TRUE & EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE ENTER SHIKARI
25 DREAMLAND GLASS ANIMALS
26 CONFETTI LITTLE MIX
27 FAKE IT FLOWERS BEABADOOBEE
28 POWER UP AC/DC
29 GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY - AWESOME MIX 1 ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK
30 LIVE AROUND THE WORLD QUEEN & ADAM LAMBERT
31 ZEROS DECLAN MCKENNA
32 DEDICATED - SIDE B CARLY RAE JEPSEN
33 FOOLISH LOVING SPACES BLOSSOMS
34 ENERGY DISCLOSURE
35 OPEN UP YOUR HEAD SEA GIRLS
36 WHAT'S THE STORY MORNING GLORY OASIS
37 THE NEON ERASURE
38 GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY - AWESOME MIX 2 ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK
39 SEX DEATH & THE INFINITE VOID CREEPER
40 JUNK FOOD EASY LIFE

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