This year’s Record Store Day, the annual celebration of independent music retailers and all things vinyl, has been deemed the most successful ever.
It’s been just over a week since the world’s record stores, music fans, bands, and more gathered for unique gigs and special events across the globe on Saturday 19th April, and new international sales reports demonstrate that Record Store Day 2014’s central aim – to get people back into indie shop and buying physical product – has been a major success, surpassing even last year’s record breaking figures.
According to sales data from US stats-trackers Nielsen, vinyl LP sales for this year’s edition were up 58% from last year’s Record Store Day, which judging by the RSD 2013 figures, means an estimated 353,920 records flew off independent store’s shelves.
The 2014 figures, which track the full sales week ending 19th April, 2014 in the US, also shows a staggering increase of record sales up from the previous week. For example, sales of 12″ records increased by more than 3,100%, up 113% over the same week last year.
Neilsen also shows that the some 353,920 vinyl LPs bought at independent record stores accounted for 82% of all sales, plus for more than half (52% to be precise) of all album sales across all formats at independent stores in the Record Store Day week, up from last year’s 37% figure. That also brings the year-to-date vinyl LP sales up by 36% compared to the same period last year, on pace to break last year’s vinyl sales figure.
Additionally, overall album sales (which includes CDs and *sigh* cassettes) at independent record stores rocketed up 91% compared to the previous weeks’ sales, and the same amount compared to year on year sales (up 59% in 2013 and 27% in 2012 for comparison). That meant indie music shops represented 19.4% of all physical music sold in the US for the week ending 19th April, the highest share ever since SoundScan started tracking store sales in 1991. “Propelled by Record Store Day, Independent Record Stores had their highest weekly Physical Album share in SoundScan’s history.”
“Record Store Day keeps shining the spotlight on the experience that Independent Record Stores uniquely brings to music fans,” said David Bakula, SVP Client Development & Insights at Nielsen. “Propelled by Record Store Day, Independent Record Stores had their highest weekly Physical Album share in SoundScan’s history. It has become a major music event that that compels artists to deliver premium content and drives music consumers to Independent Record Stores.”
The record-breaking results are largely thanks to the long list of Record Store Day exclusives. Of the Top 50 selling Vinyl LPs in the US for the week, 43 of them were Record Store Day 2014 releases, including Tame Impala’s Live Versions, Bruce Springsteen’s unreleased songs collection American Beauty, Nirvana’s ‘Pennyroyal Tea’ reissue, dual releases by The Flaming Lips, and more.
There were also 68 different vinyl LP titles that sold more than 1,000 copies in the week, compared to the 17 titles that broke that feat for last year’s Record Store Day.
However, while the surging sales demonstrate a huge boon to independent music stores, the ongoing practice of vinyl touts profiteering from the increased demand for Record Store Day exclusives by re-selling them at eye-wincingly inflate prices has drawn negative attention to the event’s cause. “The greedy touts making a fast buck off genuine fans is disgusting and goes against the whole philosophy of RSD.”
Australia’s own King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard frowned upon the eBay re-sellers of their limited edition ‘Head On/Pill’ 12” after it ranked among a list of this year’s highest selling RSD exclusives. “This makes us sad,” remarked the band on their Facebook page; “we do not condone this, if you have a copy keep it and enjoy it!!”
Paul Weller was similarly displeased with the vinyl scalping, the legendary ‘Modfather’ and The Jam frontman calling for a boycott of Record Store Day after his exclusive single turned up on eBay at a ridiculous price, as Billboard reports; writing in a Facebook post: “the greedy touts making a fast buck off genuine fans is disgusting and goes against the whole philosophy of RSD.”
The backlash was enough for Record Store Day organisers to issue an official statement responding to Weller, sharing the musician’s “disappointment” with resellers’ exploitation but that with only 500 copies of the limited single available, “some re-selling was expected.”
View more top-selling Record Store Day sales and releases below (via Billboard)
Billboard’s Top Vinyl LPs for the week ending 4/20/2014
1. Childish Gambino, “Because the Internet” (Glassnote)
2. The Afghan Whigs, “Do To the Beast” (Sub Pop)
3. Notorious B.I.G., “Life After Death” (Bad Boy/Rhino)
4. Bruce Springsteen, “American Beauty” (EP) (Columbia)
5. The Jimi Hendrix Experience, “Live At Monterey” (Experience Hendrix/Legacy)
6. Grateful Dead, “Hampton Coliseum: Friday May 4, 1979” (Grateful Dead/Rhino)
7. Tame Impala, “Live Versions” (Modular/Interscope/IGA)
8. Joy Division, “An Ideal For Living” (EP) (Warner UK/Rhino)
9. The Flaming Lips, “7 Skies H3” (Lovely Sorts Of Death/Warner Bros.)
10. The Ramones, “Meltdown With the Ramones EP” (Sire/Rhino)
Billboard’s Top Vinyl Singles for the week ending 4/20/2014
1. Nirvana, “Pennyroyal Tea” (Sub Pop/Geffen/Interscope)
2. Devo/The Flaming Lips, “Gates of Steel” (Live) (Warner Bros./Rhino)
3. The Cure/Dinosaur Jr., “Just Like Heaven” (Fiction/Elektra/Rhino)
4. David Bowie, “1984” (Parlophone/Rhino)
5. Love/Rush, “7 and 7 Is” (Elektra/Rhino)
6. Frank Zappa, “Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow” (Zappa/UMe)
7. Poison Idea/Pantera, “The Badge” (East West/Rhino)
8. Paramore, “Ain’t It Fun” (Fueled By Ramen/RRP)
9. Fleetwood Mac, “Dragonfly” (Reprise/Warner Bros./Rhino)
10. Garbage With Brody Dalle, “Girls Talk” (Stun Volume)