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Tyler, The Creator named best-selling male artist on vinyl

Rapper and producer Tyler, The Creator is officially the best-selling male artist on vinyl in the US. He was also named the year’s best-selling rapper.

Tyler, The Creator has been named as the best-selling male artist on vinyl in the US for 2023.

He reportedly sold a total of 552,000 records, making him both the best-selling rapper and male artist in the US. He was also third best-selling artist overall. Other hip-hop figures in the top ten included Travis Scott at number four, Kendrick Lamar at number six, and Mac Miller at number ten.

Taylor Swift took the top spot overall, of course, having sold a staggering 3.484 million albums. Lana Del Ray was a distant second, selling 646,000 records. Olivia Rodrigo was fifth, Metallica seventh, The Beatles eighth, and Fleetwood Mac were ninth.

A total of 49.61 million vinyl were sold in the US in 2023, a jump of 14.2% over 2022. Reportedly, one in every 25 vinyl albums sold last year were by Taylor Swift. Eye-watering numbers indeed.

Why is Tyler’s success a sign of cultural change and evolution?

Tyler, The Creator’s unprecedented success in 2023 should be enough evidence to demonstrate just how much hip-hop has evolved and changed over the last two decades.

Where once the genre was dominated by exaggerated displays of heterosexual masculinity, it now accepts and nurtures artists that explore sexuality, authenticity, introspection, and vulnerability. Tyler’s career is a microcosm of this shift, having first started out as an often-homophobic shock rapper and later evolving into a high-brow, sexually-ambiguous artist.

There are many reasons for this progression within hip-hop spaces.

For one, the genre has become the world’s most popular, which will attract voices from a wider range of backgrounds and experiences. Gen Z is also steadily becoming the most prominent demographic for contemporary hip-hop music and is, by and large, somewhat accepting of differences in sexuality and identity.

Much of the noughties baggage of the bling era has fallen away, leaving a more open and eclectic stage for artists to push the boundaries and express themselves faithfully.

Tyler, The Creator’s numbers exceed massive heavyweight competition, including Travis Scott and Kendrick Lamar. His exceptional commercial viability demonstrates an openness by consumers to accept and embrace sexual fluidity from a male artist within hip-hop in a way that isn’t gimmicky or particularly overt.

Why are the vinyl numbers so high?

Another point of interest beyond the top artists of the year is the sheer volume of vinyl being sold.

It may not be the most environmentally friendly choice out there, but physical media is making a significant comeback within the industry and doesn’t look likely to stop or slow down any time soon. In fact, physical music format sales recently hit a decade high.

Vinyl is very popular with Gen Zers, who have grown up dependent on streaming as the standard for media consumption. Is it a nostalgic call-back to analogue media? A yearning for the more tangible, physical media experiences of their parents? A reflection of our desire to affirm our own identity through the items we own and consume?

It’s likely a combination of all.

Taylor’s absolute dominance is representative of a younger fan base eager to buy and consume vinyl records. We’ve even seen artists begin to incorporate vinyl designs and limited edition prints into their album rollouts in order to generate sales. It is a thriving format that only looks to grow in the coming years.

We’ll see how the numbers stack up at the end of 2024. Something tells me that Taylor will still be in that top spot.