The Most Popular Genres on Vinyl

With 2023 seeing the highest number of vinyl sales since 1990, vinyl revival is well and truly upon us. The resurgence of vinyl has seen an array of huge artists release their albums on vinyl over the past few years, from Beyonce’s Cowboy Carter to Taylor Swift’s record-breaking 1989 (Taylor’s Version).

Vinyl, as we know it today, was introduced in the 50s when RCA Victor invented the long-playing record (LP) which turned at 45 RPM. At the time, the most popular genres of music included jazz, blues, soul, and rock. 

Since then, a range of genres and subgenres have emerged, and with more artists blending genres like Beyonce’s Cowboy Carter album which encapsulates a beautiful blend of country, soul, R&B, and Hip Hop influences, we wanted to find out which genres are coming out on top.

To do this, we’ve analysed 45 of the best-selling vinyls over the last decade while also considering successful new vinyl releases to reveal the most commonly bought genre on vinyl. 

Rock ‘n’ roll forever

Rock and its multitude of sub-genres make up almost half of the most popular vinyls bought, with alternative rock taking the lead, followed by rock, hard rock, pop rock, gothic rock, and progressive rock.

Alternative rock is the most commonly bought genre on vinyl, making up 17.8% of all vinyl genres analysed, followed by alternative/indie at 15.6%, and in third place, pop at 11.1%. 

With alternative rock crowned the King of vinyl, there’s no better time to explore some of the best-selling alternative rock vinyl in existence: 

Nevermind, Nirvana

Regarded as one of the most groundbreaking albums in alternative rock history, Nevermind catapulted Nirvana to global fame with its release in 1991. Featuring iconic anthems like ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, ‘Come As You Are’, and ‘Lithium’, the album is known for its undeniably raw energy, gritty guitars, and inventive lyrics which perfectly capture the disillusionment of a generation. Spearheaded by the legendary Kurt Cobain, this timeless classic continues to resonate with listeners and will undoubtedly continue for many decades to come.

The Masterplan, Oasis

Featuring rare tracks and unreleased songs from the band's early years, The Masterplan by Oasis is a compilation album fans didn’t know they needed until its release in 1998. Showcasing the band’s songwriting prowess and the Gallagher brothers’ incredible vocals, this album provides fans with a deeper dive into the legendary musical realm of Oasis. 

The Queen Is Dead, The Smiths

Regarded as one of the greatest alternative rock albums in history, The Queen is Dead by The Smiths, is adored for its jangle-pop riffs and Morrisey’s witty lyrics. Thought to have kickstarted the golden age of alternative and indie rock, this album played a monumental role in popularising the genre to the masses. Released in 1986, The Queen is Dead quickly rose to fame, receiving critical acclaim across the globe. 

The Stone Roses, The Stone Roses

Another gem from the 1980’s, The Stone Roses’ self-titled album is hailed as one of the greatest records of the era despite receiving mixed reviews when first released in 1989. Despite a rocky start – excuse the pun – the album grew in popularity and continues to be a cult classic today. Featuring iconic tracks like ‘I Wanna Be Adored’, ‘She Bangs the Drums’, and ‘Waterfall’, the album’s hypnotic melodies, shimmering guitars, and poetic yet psychedelic lyrics continue to mesmerise rock fans. 

The Invisible Band, Travis

Released in 2001, The Invisible Brand by Travis is Possibly one of the most beautifully crafted alternative rock albums to grace our ears. Featuring iconic hits like ‘Sing’, ‘Side’ and ‘Flowers in the Window’, this album comprises an array of emotion-evoking tracks, exploring relatable themes of love and self-discovery. With unforgettable hooks and wholesome lyrics, this timeless masterpiece continues to resonate with super-fans and casual listeners alike. 



  • Collected a list of artists with the best-selling vinyl over the last decade, looking at both old and new releases to gauge interest in different genres over time 
  • We only looked at each artist’s best-selling vinyl to gain a fair result (eg. we only included Taylor Swift’s best-selling vinyl ‘1989 (Taylor’s Version)’ rather than her entire vinyl collection)
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