Music Business

Vinyl Sales Surge 47% After Record Store Day Weekend #1

While it would be logical to assume that record stores would be suffering along with other retail businesses as a result of the pandemic, some numbers in from the first weekend of Record Store Day show vinyl sales are actually surging at some establishments.

Guest post by Bobby Owsinski of Music 3.0

You would think that with retail stores of all sizes suffering because of the pandemic that record stores especially would be hard hit. That might be true for other times during this situation, but on the first weekend of the annual Record Store Day vinyl sales again proved to be a big winner.

The 13 year-old event has expanded from just one weekend to 3 spaced out of the course 3 consecutive months this year and they never seem to disappoint, especially when some retailers see sales jump as much as 47%.

Online retailer Discogs, for instance, saw 60,000+ orders last weekend compared to almost 43,000 in 2019, a 41.1% increase. This translates to almost 79,000 units sold in 2020 so far, up 47.12% from 54,000 sold in 2019. 

Believe it or not, the biggest concern that the 1200 participating record retailers have this year is how to control the traffic into their stores, which is why the event has been spread out across the last weekends in August, September and October. During this past weekend, social distancing was able to be maintained and still accommodate anxious vinyl buyers. This includes a time limit of as little as 2 minutes (!) to a half-hour in the store, online forms to receive an assigned time, and even a lottery system for access.

Many retailers still decided or were forced to remain closed and instead shifted all access to online sales, including social media contests and Zoom calls for preferred customers.

As with every RSD, special edition vinyl albums by many major artists were planned, including The Black Keys, David Bowie, The Cure, Black Sabbath, Gary Clark Jr., John Lennon, Judas Priest, Pink Floyd, Pretenders, U2, The Who, and many more.

Vinyl sales have showed no signs of slowing down even during the pandemic. Enthusiasts may have limited access to brick and mortar stores, but they’re still finding ways to quench their thirst for the vinyl records they love online.

The fact that there are still 2 more weekends of Record Store Day bodes well for that part of the industry.

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2 Comments

  1. I think you have misinterpreted these numbers, just like DMN did last week.
    They do not say that *vinyl sales* surged 47%. They say that *online sales on discogs* surged 47%. The figures merely reflect the fact that the pandemic has caused a surge in physical record stores posting their inventory online on Discogs *and* a surge in people buying vinyl online instead of in physical record stores. If you look at Discogs’ own midyear report you’ll see that they confirm this. There is no way to measure in-store physical vinyl sales vs. online unless you call around to lots of record stores (which I did, when I tried to measure this two years ago, see https://www.forbes.com/sites/billrosenblatt/2018/09/18/vinyl-is-bigger-than-we-thought-much-bigger/.)

  2. Sales in record stores are under-reported on a weekly basis but Record Store Day events tend to be a bit more accurate. There has been no real innovation as to collecting sales in record stores for decades. Ironic, that the sector that relaunched vinyl is pretty much ignored. From what we can tell , depending on the record, stores sales of albums are typically twice or three times what is reported by the data companies.

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