Miles Davis' 'Kind of Blue' Remains a Fixture on Vinyl Albums Chart, 57 Years After Its Release
Just last week, the Columbia Records/Legacy set sold 1,000 vinyl LPs in the U.S.
Miles Davis’ landmark Kind of Blue album continues to find new fans but in an old-fashioned way: on vinyl.
The Columbia Records/Legacy set, released in 1959, sold 1,000 vinyl LPs in the U.S. in the week ending Sept. 15, according to Nielsen Music. Further, it's a regular presence on the weekly Vinyl Albums chart. On the Sept. 24-dated list, it ranked alongside a mix of old and new albums, like Twenty One Pilots’ Blurryface, Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool, The Beatles’ Abbey Road and Michael Jackson’s Thriller.
Kind of Blue, which was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1992, is the 10th biggest-selling vinyl album of 2016 (26,000 copies -- 47 percent of its total sales on all configurations) and the fifth largest-selling album on vinyl since 2010 (143,000). 2016’s best-selling vinyl set is David Bowie’s Blackstar, with 60,000 sold, while the biggest seller since 2010 is Abbey Road, with 241,000.
Adam Block, the president of Legacy Recordings, tells Billboard in an email that "we've made a concerted effort to keep both the idea of Miles and his greatness and Kind of Blue visible and accessible through every channel and platform available to us." Block cites Legacy's support of the "25-year, ongoing celebration" of Davis' work, the label's recent "reimagining" of Davis' work with Robert Glasper -- Everything's Beautiful, and the general "amplification of others' enthusiasm and support" of Davis.
"The fact that [Kind of Blue has] become thought of as 'the one jazz record everyone needs to own' also contributes to its remarkable sales at a time when there are so many new vinyl consumers building their collections."
Kind of Blue’s solid vinyl sales aren’t a 2016 phenomenon, either. In 2015, the set finished as the No. 5 best-selling vinyl set (49,000), while in 2014 it was the No. 9 seller (32,000).
"Miles Davis, and particularly Kind of Blue, have become a part of our cultural DNA," Block says. "That's, first and foremost, because of the kind of artist Miles was and the masterpiece Kind of Blue is -- and no one but Miles can take credit for that. Beneath that though is an ongoing determination here at Legacy not to miss opportunities to reinforce those two undeniable truths."
Overall, since Nielsen Music began tracking data in 1991, Kind of Blue has sold 3.6 million copies (that’s all configurations of the album combined -- LP, CD, digital, etc.), which makes it the No. 6 biggest-selling jazz album in that span of time. The best-selling jazz set of the Nielsen era is Norah Jones’ Come Away With Me, with 11.1 million sold.