2019 Record Store Day Yields Historic Week for Vinyl Album Sales

Steven Errico/Getty Images
          

Albums by Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan & The Rolling Stones were among the top-selling Record Store Day-exclusive releases at indie stores, according to Nielsen Music.

All hail vinyl! Record Store Day drove record-breaking music sales figures yet again, according to Nielsen Music.

The 12th annual indie music retailer celebration, staged on April 13, helped yield 827,000 vinyl albums sold in the U.S. in the week ending April 18, according to Nielsen Music — a record for Record Store Day week, and the third-largest sales week for vinyl albums since Nielsen Music started tracking sales in 1991.

The previous largest vinyl album sales haul for a Record Store Day week was 2018 with 733,000 sold in the week ending April 26. The only two larger weeks for vinyl album sales overall were logged during the Christmas season of 2018 (905,000; week ending Dec. 27 and 880,000; Dec. 20).

In addition, 673,000 vinyl albums were sold via independent record stores — the biggest week ever for the format at indie stores in Nielsen Music history. The sales sum beats the previous high, tallied a year ago during Record Store Day week (533,000), by 16%.

Vinyl sales surge concurrent with Record Store Day every year as the celebration prompts the release of hundreds of unique and specialty vinyl releases specifically for the festivities, and most of those are only available at independent retailers.

The top selling Record Store Day-exclusive album for the week ending April 18 at independent record stores was Grateful Dead’s live archival acoustic concert package Warfield: San Francisco, California, October 9th, 1980 / October 10th, 1980. Available as both a double-vinyl LP package and as 2-CD set, the album sold a combined 10,000 copies on vinyl and CD. (See the full top 25 list of the week's biggest Record Store Day exclusives, as compiled by Nielsen Music, below.)

The Warfield set was a rare case of a Record Store Day-exclusive title getting both a vinyl LP and a CD release, as nearly every other title released for Record Store Day was exclusive to vinyl. The week’s second-and-third-biggest selling Record Store Day-exclusive titles at indie stores were Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks: Test Pressing and Green Day’s Green Day Live! Woodstock 1994.

The top-selling Record Store Day-exclusive single at indie stores was The Rolling Stones “She’s a Rainbow,” recorded live in Paris on Oct. 25, 2017, selling nearly 4,000 copies on 10” yellow-colored vinyl. (See full top 25 list, below.) Following it in the top three are Death Grips “Steroids" (Crouching Tiger Hidden Gabber Megamix) and Madonna’s “La Isla Bonita” (Super Mix). The latter, issued on 12” green vinyl, was the first U.S. release of an earlier Japan-only vinyl single issued in 1987.

Notable statistics about 2019 Record Store Day and its sales impact:

- 827,000 vinyl albums were sold, industry-wide, in the week ending April 18, 2019 — a record for Record Store Day week. That’s up 12.8% compared to vinyl album sales during the previous one-week high during Record Store Day week, with 733,000 sold in the week ending April 26, 2018.

- Total album sales across all formats (vinyl LP, CD, digital album, cassette, etc.) rose 29.6% in the week ending April 18, 2019, thanks largely to Record Store Day (2.8 million albums sold vs. 2.16 million in the week ending April 11).

- Vinyl album sales jumped 193% in the week ending April 18, 2019 (827,000 vs. 282,000).

- 40.4% of all physical albums (CDs, vinyl LPs, cassettes, etc.) sold in the week ending April 18, 2019 were vinyl (827,000 of 2.05 million).

- 29.5% of all albums (physical and digital combined) sold in the week ending April 18, 2019 were vinyl (827,000 of 2.8 million).

- 673,000 vinyl albums were sold at indie retailers in the week ending April 18, 2019 – a record for Record Store Day week at the indie retail sector. The sum beats the previous record, set during 2018 Record Store Day week with 580,000.

- 81.3% of all vinyl albums sold industry-wide in the week ending April 18, 2019 were sold via indie stores (673,000 via indie stores, of the industry-wide 827,000 total).

- 30.4% of all albums (physical and digital) sold in the week ending April 18, 2019 were sold via indie stores (851,000 of 2.8 million).

- 41.5% of all physical albums sold in the week ending April 18, 2019 were via indie stores (851,000 of 2.05 million).

Top Record Store Day Exclusive Albums at Independent Record Stores
Rank, Artist, Title
1. Grateful Dead, Warfield: San Francisco, California, October 9th, 1980 / October 10th, 1980
2. Bob Dylan, Blood on the Tracks: Test Pressing
3. Green Day, Green Day Live! Woodstock 1994
4. Greta Van Fleet, From the Fires
5. Pink Floyd, A Saucerful of Secrets
6. Fleetwood Mac, The Alternate Fleetwood Mac
7. Prince, His Majesty’s Pop Life / The Purple Mix Club
8 (TIE). Pearl Jam, Live at Easy Street
8 (TIE). Weezer (Teal Album)
10. The Doors, London Fog: May, 1966
11. John Lennon, Imagine: The Raw Studio Mixes
12. Gorillaz, The Fall
13. The Rolling Stones, Big Hits [High Tide and Green Grass] (UK)
14. U2, The Europa EP
15. David Bowie, Pinups
16. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, 4 Way Street
17. Sublime, Nugs: The Best of the Box
18. The Rolling Stones, Through the Past, Darkly (Big Hits, Vol. 2) (UK)
19. Sunn O))), Life Metal
20 (TIE). Elton John With Ray Cooper, Live From Moscow 1979
20 (TIE). Prince, The Versace Experience: Prelude 2 Gold
20 (TIE). Weezer, Dusty Gems & Raw Nuggets
23. Van Morrison, Astral Weeks: Alternative (EP)
24. Grateful Dead, Sage & Spirit
25. Soundtrack, Lost In Translation
Source: Nielsen Music, for the week ending April 18, 2019

Top Record Store Day Exclusive Singles at Independent Record Stores
Rank, Artist, Title

1. The Rolling Stones, She’s a Rainbow
2. Death Grips, Steroids (Crouching Tiger Hidden Gabber Megamix)
3. Madonna, La Isla Bonita (Super Mix)
4. Cheech & Chong, Up In Smoke
5. Madonna, True Blue (Super Club Mix)
6. Julien Baker, Red Door/Conversation Piece
7. High On Fire, Bat Salad
8. Anderson .Paak, Bubblin’
9. Bad Religion, My Sanity
10. Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody/I’m In Love With My Car
11. Joe Strummer, The Rockfield Studio Tracks
12. David Bowie/Marlene Dietrich, Revolutionary Song/Just a Gigolo
13. Lord Huron featuring Phoebe Bridges, The Night We Met
14. Menzingers, No Penance
15. Courtney Barnett, Everybody Here Hates You
16. Czarface, Double Dose of Danger
17. Fela Kuti and Roy Ayers, Music of Many Colours
18. Iggy Pop, The Villagers
19. Benjamin Gibbard, Me and Magdalena
20. Dr. Dre, Nuthin’ But a “G” Thang
21 (TIE). Erykah Badu and James Poyser, Tempted
21 (TIE). Chicano Batman, Black Lipstick
21 (TIE). Mastodon, Stairway to Nick John
21 (TIE). Modest Mouse, Poison the Well
25. Dennis Wilson/Taylor Hawkins/Brian May/Roger Taylor, Holy Man
Source: Nielsen Music, for the week ending April 18, 2019


THE BILLBOARD BIZ
SUBSCRIBER EXPERIENCE

The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to Billboard.com/business.


To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.