Record Store Day once again powered historic sales numbers for vinyl albums and singles in the U.S., according to Nielsen Music.
The 11th annual festivities, staged on April 21, helped yield a whopping 733,000 vinyl albums sold in the week ending April 26 — a record for Record Store Day week, and the third-largest weekly sum for vinyl albums since Nielsen Music began tracking sales in 1991. Further, of that sum, 580,000 vinyl albums were sold at independent retailers — the single largest week for the format at the retail sector in Nielsen Music history.
The annual indie music retailer celebration traditionally offers a slate of exclusive and limited-edition vinyl albums and singles, generally only found at indie stores. In turn, with so many unique vinyl offerings all going on sale at the same time (with a bevy from A-list acts), it’s no surprise that vinyl sales shot through the roof in the wake of Record Store Day.
The top-selling Record Store Day-exclusive album title at indie stores during the week was the red vinyl release of Bruce Springsteen’s Greatest Hits album. It was followed by David Bowie’s Welcome to the Blackout (Live London ’78) and Neil Young’s Roxy: Tonight’s the Night Live.
The top-selling Record Store Day-exclusive single at indie stores was Led Zeppelin’s double-sided 7-inch single “Friends”/“Rock and Roll” — which also marked the legendary band’s first release for Record Store Day. The Nos. 2 and 3 biggest singles were David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” (Full Length Demo) on 12-inch vinyl, and Sufjan Stevens’ 10-inch translucent vinyl of “Mystery of Love.” (The latter was a three-song set that also included his other two song contributions for the Call Me by Your Name soundtrack: “Futile Devices” and “Visions of Gideon.”)
See the full list of the top 25 selling Record Store Day-exclusive albums and singles, below.
Here are some statistics about 2018 Record Store Day and its sales impact:
— 733,000 vinyl albums were sold, industry-wide, in the U.S. in the week ending April 26. That’s the biggest week ever for vinyl album sales during a Record Store Day week, and the largest week for vinyl albums outside of the Christmas season since Nielsen Music began tracking sales in 1991. (The two larger weeks were registered in the frame ending Dec. 24, 2015, with 753,000 copies sold; and the week ending Dec. 21, 2017, with 811,000 sold.)
— In the week ending April 26, vinyl album sales were up 190 percent compared to the prior week (733,000 vs. 253,000), with 98 percent of that gain coming from independent record stores.
— Overall album sales across all sellers of music grew 17 percent in the week ending April 26 — the largest weekly gain in sales in 2018, the first time this year that volume grew by more than 10 percent in a week, and the biggest weekly increase since the frame ending Dec. 21, 2017 (up 32 percent).
— Strikingly, without the album sales gains registered by indie record stores in the week ending April 26, overall album sales would have been down 2.5 percent that week (instead of being up 17 percent).
— 25 percent of all albums sold in the week ending April 26 were sold at independent record stores.
— Total album sales at independent record stores rose by 200 percent in the week ending April 26.
— Total album sales were up by 23 percent at independent record stores, as compared to Record Store Day week last year (799,000 vs. 649,000).
Editor’s Note: The RSD Exclusive Singles chart (below) was revised on May 1 at 4 p.m. ET after Nielsen Music updated its data.
Top RSD Exclusive Albums at Independent Record Stores
Rank, Artist, Title
1. Bruce Springsteen, Greatest Hits
2. David Bowie, Welcome to the Blackout (Live London ’78)
3. Neil Young, Roxy: Tonight’s the Night Live
4. Rage Against the Machine, Live at the Democratic National Convention 2000
5. Bob Dylan & The Grateful Dead, Dylan & The Dead
6. Pink Floyd, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (Mono)
7. Prince, 1999
8. The Cure, Mixed Up
9. Grateful Dead, Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA 2/27/69
10. Phish, Billy Breathes
11. Nas, Illmatic: Live From the Kennedy Center
12. The Doors, The Matrix Part II
13. Ramones, Sundragon Sessions
14. Madonna, Madonna (The First Album)
15. The Cure, Torn Down (Mixed Up Extra)
16. The National, Boxer Live in Brussels
17. The Rolling Stones, Their Satanic Majesties Request
18. Jerry Garcia, Run for the Roses
19. Soundgarden, A-Sides
20. Tom Waits, Bastards
21. Tom Waits, Brawlers
22. David Bowie, Bowie Now
23. Car Seat Headrest, Twin Fantasy (Mirror to Mirror)
24. Sublime, 89 Vision (EP)
25. Madonna, You Can Dance
Source: Nielsen Music, for the week ending April 26, 2018
Top RSD Exclusive Singles at Independent Record Stores
Rank, Artist, Title
1. Led Zeppelin, Friends/Rock and Roll
2. David Bowie, Let’s Dance (Full Length Demo)
3. Sufjan Stevens, Mystery of Love
4. The Notorious B.I.G., Juicy
5. U2, Lights of Home
6. Jimi Hendrix, Mannish Boy/Trash Men
7. Fleet Foxes, Crack Up (Choral Version)/In the Morning (Live in Switzerland)
8 (Tie). Cheech & Chong, Up In Smoke (40th Anniversary)
8 (Tie). Run the Jewels, Stay Gold Collector’s Edition
10. Descendents, Who We Are
11. The Police, Roxanne
12. Phoenix, Monologue
13. Brian Eno With Kevin Shields, The Weight of History + Only Once Away My Son
14. The Flaming Lips, The Story of Yum Yum and Dragon
15. Florence & The Machine, Sky Full of Song/New York Poem (For Polly)
16. Steven Wilson, How Big the Space
17. Def Leppard, Live at Abbey Road
18. Mac DeMarco/Shamir, Beat Happening Covers
19. The Regrettes/The Distillers, Side by Side
20. Czarface, Man’s Worst Enemy
21. Dr. Dre, Dre Day
22. Quicksand, Triptych Continuum
23. Air, Sexy Boy
24. Elvis Costello, Someone Else’s Heart
25. Courtney Barnett, City Looks Pretty/Sunday Roast
Source: Nielsen Music, for the week ending April 26, 2018.