The current vinyl resurgence is a unique but crucial phenomenon in music. While it only takes a fraction of the market compared to digital downloads, the ever-growing music streaming services, sales of records are still growing at a remarkable rate.
In turn, as sales of vinyl are up, way up, they’re buoying independent record shops in the stiff plea for consumer dollars against bigger music retail chains, digital music, and online piracy, as the Telegraph reports, with the less than 300 independent shops in the UK benefiting from the strong sales of vinyl for the first half of 2013, helped in large part by the success of this year’s Record Store Day.
A mid-year report from the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) shows that independent record store sales have risen by 44% in the first six months of 2013 compared to the same period last year and while indie retailers only contribute 3.2% of all album sales in the UK, they are responsible for around half of all vinyl LP records sold. In fact, the stats reveal that one in seven album purchases is on vinyl.
These results compound a recent mid-year report from Nielsen Soundscan that estimate that 2.9 million vinyl LPs have been sold in the first half of 2013, showing a 33% increase for the same period in 2012. The IFPI’s end-of-year report showed that vinyl sales totalled 12 million in 2012, four times as many as those sold in 2006. “Although the odds are stacked against them, indies have fought back.” – Paul Quirk, ERA
“These first-half sales figures reveal a stunning result for indie record shops,” said the ERA’s Chairman Paul Quirk of the results. “Although the odds are stacked against them, indies have fought back. With Record Store Day they have created the first major new UK sales promotion for music in 20 years and as consumers re-waken to the joys of analogue, they have driven the growth of vinyl sales.”
“These figures demonstrate that the time-honoured role of indie stores in highlighting music, which might otherwise fall through the cracks, is as relevant today as it has ever been,” he added.
As for what vinyl albums are actually flying off the shelves, the ERA’s list of the UK’s top selling albums at indie stores shows some interesting trends and that the English’s taste in music is, well, English.
David Bowie’s The Next Day, his 24th LP and first in a decade, was the the best-selling album for indie shops, and while it was only 15th overall for the year when accounting for sales from stores like Amazon and HMV, the music icon’s latest topped a list that includes UK-centric blockbusters from Stereophonics, Courteneers, Jake Bugg, and Texas.
Similarly the long-awaited return to music from Scotland’s Boards Of Canada, in new album Tomorrow’s Harvest, was the second-best selling indie record shop album, but only 218th across the entire market. Indie stores also accounted for a higher percentage of sales due to the vinyl boom, with 35% of Boards of Canada’s album coming from indie stores.
Daft Punk’s brand of future nostalgia, Random Access Memories – the best selling vinyl release so far for 2013 – was the fourth biggest seller for UK indie stores, while Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds first ever ARIA #1 record, Push The Sky Away was a big hit at #6 on the list.
The rest of the list (which you can view below) shows some similarities to the list of the best selling vinyl releases for the year, including appearances from the Spotify-battling Atoms For Peace, Queens Of The Stone Age, The National, and Lonerism from Australia’s own Tame Impala.
Top 20 Best-Selling Albums In Independent Record Shops In 2013 So Far
- David Bowie – The Next Day
- Boards of Canada – Tomorrow’s Harvest
- Stereophonics – Graffiti On The Train
- Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
- Courteeners – Anna
- Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Push The Sky Away
- Atoms For Peace – AMOK
- Queens Of The Stone Age – …Like Clockwork
- Frank Turner – Tape Deck Heart
- The National – Trouble Will Find Me
- Emile Sandi – Our Version Of Events
- Savages – Silence Yourself
- Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires Of The City
- Steven Wilson – The Raven That Refused To Sing
- John Grant – Pale Green Ghosts
- Palma Violets – 180
- Mumford & Sons – Babel
- Jake Bugg – Jake Bugg
- Texas – The Conversation
- British Sea Power – Machineries of Joy