Indie Music

Indie music retailers report 23% growth across all formats (including CDs)

A survey of Coalition of Independent Music stores across the US show end of years sales up an average of 23% across all physical formats.

Vinyl sales grew an average 60% and CD sales were up 16%.

Several sales categories were particular bright spots according to the survey including turntables, vinyl accessories and unsurprisingly vinyl records, especially hip-hop and classic catalog.
 
The pandemic continues to weigh heavily on indie retailers, but some also found positives. Many stores reported that Covid has made everyone take a closer look at their businesses finding ways to get creative, which has ultimately brought growth in some areas.

“Overall, what was very exciting for me to see was that our stores reported growth in all formats (even the CD) and some in astounding numbers,” wrote Andrea Paschal, Executive Director of the Coalition of Independent Music Stores and ThinkIndie Distribution. Despite the pandemic, indie stores “are still doing the majority of their business within the walls of brick and mortar,” siad Paschal, “which speaks to the importance of the communities these stores have cultivated with their customers. I think that will only continue with all the vinyl discovery that has happened over the past two years especially.”

CIMS Indie Music Stores 2021 Holiday Survey

How did December 2021 compare to December 2020?
 
On the low end up 3%, On the high end up 53%, with an average for the group of up 23%
 
How about December 2021 compared to 2019?
 
On the low end flat, On the high end up 56%, with an average for the group of up 30%
 
How did vinyl sales in December 2021 compare to December 2020?
 
On the low end down 5%, On the high end up 42%, with an average for the group of up 20%
 
How did vinyl sales in December 2021 compare to December 2019?
 
On the low end up 11%, On the high end up 77%, with an average for the group of up 45%
 
How did CD sales in December 2021 compare to December 2020?
 
On the low end down 22%, On the high end up 75%, with an average for the group of up 16%
 
How did CD sales in December 2021 compare to December 2019?
 
On the low end down 40%, On the high end up 67%, with an average for the group of up 8%. I would add that most of our stores reported growth here, with quite a few accounts in the double digits.
 
2021 Overall Sales Numbers
 
How did vinyl sales for 2021 overall compare to last year?
 
On the low end up 9%, On the high end up 103%, with an average for the group of up 60%
 
How did vinyl sales for 2021 overall compare to 2019?
 
On the low end up 10%, On the high end up 141%, with an average for the group of up 67%
 
How did CD sales for 2021 overall compare to 2020?
 
On the low end down 4%, On the high end up 78%, with an average for the group of up 28%
 
How did CD sales for 2021 overall compare to 2019?
 
On the low end down 50%, On the high end up 25%, with an average for the group of down 6%
 
What percentage of your overall sales were used product for 2021?
 
On the low end 9%, On the high end up 25%, with an average for the group of 25%
 
How did 2021 used sales compare to 2020 used sales?
 
On the low end down 21%, On the high end up 73%, with an average for the group of up 29%
 
How did 2021 used sales compare to 2019 used sales?
 
On the low end down 32%, On the high end up 27%, with an average for the group of up 4%
 
What percentage of your 2021 sales were in-store sales?
 
On the low end 65%, On the high end 100%, with an average for the group of up 85%
 
Of your overall 2021 sales, what percentage made up online sales?
 
On the low end 0%, On the high end 35%, with an average for the group of 15%
 

Bruce Houghton is Founder and Editor of Hypebot and MusicThinkTank and serves as a Senior Advisor to Bandsintown which acquired both publications in 2019. He is the Founder and President of the Skyline Artists Agency and a professor for the Berklee College Of Music.

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