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Record Store Day Spurs 131 Percent Gain in Vinyl Album Sales in U.S.

Record Store Day 2016 sparked major sales gains for both indie retailers and the vinyl format. Sales at indie stores grew by 131 percent for the week, while overall vinyl album sales also exploded by…

Record Store Day (April 17) releases swarm the Tastemakers Albums, Vinyl Albums and Hot Singles Sales charts as the annual independent music retailer celebration brings a bevy of unique, limited-edition and vinyl titles to the lists.

In the U.S., indie retailers sold 30 percent of all physical albums and singles in the week ending April 21 (749,000 out of 2.5 million), according to Nielsen Music. To compare, the sector accounted for 14 percent in the previous week (281,000 out of 2.1 million).


On the Record Store Day Crawl: Celebrating Music & Independent Retail in NYC

Among the hot Record Store Day-exclusive sellers were Sublime’s Jah Won’t Pay the Bills, J Dilla’s Diary, and Madonna’s first Record Store Day offering, Like a Virgin & Other Big Hits. The latter four-song EP was initially issued in Japan, in 1984, and now has its first U.S. release (on pink vinyl, no less).

Vinyl LP sales were unsurprisingly robust during the latest tracking week as the vast majority of Record Store Day releases are produced on the format — with 521,000 vinyl albums sold during the tracking week (up 131 percent). That’s the largest week for the format since the frame ending Dec. 24, 2015 (753,000), and the biggest week for vinyl LPs outside of the Christmas season since Nielsen started tracking sales in 1991.

Vinyl album sales in 2016 now stand at 4.09 million (6.6 percent of all album sales: 62 million). Further, vinyl album sales comprise 11.5 percent of all physical albums sold in 2016 (4.09 million of 35.42 million).

Some further statistics about Record Store Day and vinyl sales in the week ending April 21:

— 13 percent of all albums sold were on vinyl (521,000 of 4.1 million).

— Indie stores sold 74 percent of all vinyl albums for the week.

— Indie stores sold 640,000 albums – a gain of 131 percent compared to the previous week (278,000).

— Indie stores sold 383,000 vinyl albums – a gain of 320 percent compared to the previous week (91,000).

— Indie stores sold 108,000 physical singles – a gain of 2,600 percent compared to the previous week (4,000).

— Indie stores sold 100,000 12” vinyl singles – a gain of 4,900 percent compared to the previous week (2,000).

— Record Store Day limited edition albums and singles combined to sell nearly 300,000 copies, according to Nielsen Music.