Record Store Day Drives Vinyl Sales to Historic Peak in SoundScan Era

Thanks to Record Store Day (April 20), weekly U.S. vinyl album sales hit a historic high.

A total of 244,000 vinyl LPs were sold in the week ending April 21, according to Nielsen SoundScan -- the largest one-week sum for vinyl albums since SoundScan started tracking sales in 1991.

This past week's vinyl album haul surpasses the previous one-week record, set just last December. In the week ending Dec. 23, 2012, 213,000 vinyl albums were sold.

This week's vinyl LP haul is the largest week for the format, outside of Christmas, since last year's Record Store Day. In the week ending April 22, 2012, 172,000 vinyl LPs were sold.

Last week, independent stores sold 544,000 albums, an increase of 59% compared with the previous week and a jump of 3% compared with last year's Record Store Day.

Part of the increase in sales can be attributed in part to the greater selection of product created for this year's event. "Record Store Day increased the number of special releases we did this year to over 400 titles, as compared to about 300 last year," says Record Store Day co-founder Michael Kurtz. "This was done mainly to accommodate regional releases and small runs from independently owned labels."

Of the 544,000 indie store albums sold last week, 200,000 were vinyl LPs. A year ago, for Record Store Day, 528,000 albums were sold at indie retail, and of that figure, 147,000 were vinyl LPs.

This past week's sum was the largest for indie retail album sales since the week ending Dec. 23, 2012, when 765,000 albums were moved at the height of the Christmas shopping frenzy.

A number of Billboard charts this week are swamped by Record Store Day-related titles. The Tastemakers Albums chart, which ranks the top 25-selling albums at indie and small chain stores, is riddled with Record Store Day efforts. On the chart, the highest-ranking Record Store Day-exclusive title is Mumford & Sons' new EP “Live at Bull Moose,” which debuts at No. 6. The set sold nearly 3,000 copies in total last week, almost one-third of the 10,000 copies that were manufactured. “Live at Bull Moose” is also the only Record Store Day-exclusive title to chart on the Billboard 200 this week, debuting at No. 174.

Above Mumford & Sons this week on Tastemakers are a number of debuts that weren't Record Store Day exclusives, but, because of their demographic appeal, likely benefited from traffic at indie retailers. Nos. 1-5 host debuts by Yeah Yeah Yeahs (“Mosquito”), Ghost B.C. (“Infestissumam”), Steve Earl & the Dukes (& Duchesses) (“Low Highway”), the Flaming Lips (“The Terror”) and Kid Cudi (“Indicud”), respectively.

Moving over to the Hot Singles Sales chart, Record Store Day is in full effect. The tally ranks the best-selling traditional physical singles (and
digital bundles) of the week. But since old-fashioned singles are nearly nonexistent, there's little reason to mention this chart in print.

However, the list is very lively this week, thanks to a bevy of vinyl singles that were released for Record Store Day. On the 25-position chart, all but two are singles are Record Store Day exclusives. No. 1 is the side-by-side 7-inch single “No Fun,” containing the Stooges' original take and a 2002 cover by the Black Keys. It sold 2,000 copies out of its 7,000 total production run.