Record Store Day 2022 Yields Record-Breaking Vinyl Album Sales – Billboard

After two years of modified Record Store Day events due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Record Store Day 2022 was mostly back to its pre-pandemic self – and once again helping break modern-era vinyl sales records.

This year’s edition of the independent music retailer celebration, staged on April 23, helped sell 1.316 million vinyl albums in the U.S. in the week ending April 28, according to Luminate. That 1.316 million total marks a record number of vinyl albums sold in a Record Store Day (RSD) week, excluding Black Friday-related RSD festivities, and the sixth-largest week for vinyl album sales since Luminate began tracking music sales in 1991.

RSD 2022 also drove a modern-era record of 1.012 million vinyl albums sold in the U.S. via independent record stores in that frame. That is the largest week ever for the format at the indie sector in Luminate history. It surpasses the previous Luminate-era high for weekly vinyl album sales at indies, set with 942,000 sold in the week ending June 17, 2021 (during RSD 2021’s first drop of last year).

After two years in which RSD celebrations were heavily altered due to COVID-19, the event was mostly back to its pre-pandemic self for the 2022 edition. Traditionally, Record Store Day is held on one Saturday in the springtime, when hundreds of albums (and many singles) are released specifically for the event.

Among the unique titles that hit shelves for Record Store Day 2022: the vinyl debut of Childish Gambino’s Kauai EP (pressed on three surprise color vinyl variants randomly distributed globally), a new double vinyl pressing of Mariah Carey’s #1’s album and a 50th anniversary 180-gram glow-in-the-dark double vinyl edition of The Rolling StonesMore Hot Rocks (Big Hits & Fazed Cookies). All three releases were among the top-selling RSD-exclusive titles of the week at indie record stores (see list, below). Additionally, Taylor Swift – the global ambassador for Record Store Day 2022 – released a two-track 7-inch single for “The Lakes” / “The Lakes” (Original Version). The latter track made its vinyl debut on this single.

In 2020, Record Store Day was meant to be held on April 18. However, owed to COVID-19 complications, the single-day event was split into three separate drops: Aug. 26, Sept. 26 and Oct. 24. And in 2021, RSD was divided into two drops, on June 12 and July 17. (Further, Record Store Day stages a Black Friday-focused event annually, with a smaller – yet still robust – number of exclusive titles. In 2019, the last pre-pandemic year of RSD events, the main Record Store Day event garnered about 400 releases, while RSD Black Friday brought nearly 200 titles.)

While Record Store Day is shaking off the pandemic blues, things aren’t completely back to normal. As Record Store Day’s official website states, while “in 2022, there is one Record Store Day, April 23,” there will still be another Record Store Day drop event, on June 18. That drop date is acting as a “safety net, for titles that are part of the Record Store Day celebration, but for any number of reasons beyond controlling, [couldn’t] make it into stores on April 23.” (Among those titles that are slated for the drop on June 18 are a translucent-gold colored double vinyl pressing of Prince’s The Gold Experience album and a crystal-clear double vinyl edition of Pearl Jam’s Live on Two Legs album.)

Here are some facts on Record Store Day 2022’s impact, plus a look at the top-selling Record Store Day-exclusive albums and singles.

All data is according to Luminate, for the week ending April 28, 2022, in the U.S, unless otherwise indicated. Luminate began tracking music sales in 1991. References to the Luminate era mean from 1991-onwards.

Industry-wide total album sales in U.S. across all formats (physical [including CD, vinyl, cassettes, etc.] and digital downloads): 2.33 million – up 34.5% compared to the previous week (1.733 million). It’s the largest album sales week in 2022. The last larger week was the week ending Dec. 30, 2021, when 2.653 million albums were sold. (Outside of the holiday shopping season – from the week containing Thanksgiving through the end of the year – the last larger week was the frame ending Nov. 18, 2021, when 2.708 million albums were sold.)

Industry-wide total physical album sales in U.S. (CD, vinyl, cassette, etc.): 1.946 million – up 42.4% compared to the previous week (1.367 million). It’s the largest sales week for physical album sales in 2022. The last bigger week was the week ending Dec. 20, 2021, when 2.151 million physical albums were sold. (Outside of the holiday shopping season – from the week containing Thanksgiving through the end of the year – the last larger week was the frame ending Nov. 18, 2021, when 2.082 million physical albums were sold.)

Industry-wide CD album sales in U.S.: 621,000 – up 2.7% compared to the previous week (605,000).

Industry-wide vinyl album sales in U.S.: 1.316 million – up 74.8% compared to the previous week (753,000).

That 1.316 million sum translates to a record number of vinyl albums sold in a Record Store Day week, not counting Black Friday-related RSD festivities, and the sixth-largest week for vinyl album sales since Luminate began tracking data in 1991. It’s also the biggest week outside of the holiday shopping season for vinyl album sales, in the Luminate era.

The largest week for vinyl album sales in the Luminate era occurred in the week ending Dec. 23, 2021, when 2.115 million vinyl albums were sold. The Nos. 2-5 largest weeks are: week ending Dec. 24, 2020 (1.842 million); Dec. 16, 2021 (1.458 million); Dec. 2, 2021 (1.453 million; includes RSD Black Friday) and Dec. 17, 2021 (1.445 million).

56% of all albums sold in the U.S. in the week ending April 28 were vinyl albums (1.316 million of 2.33 million). For context, year-to-date, vinyl albums comprise 41.7% of all album sales (12.667 million of 30.399 million).

68% of all physical albums sold in the U.S. in the week ending April 28 were vinyl albums (1.316 million of 1.946 million). Year-to-date, vinyl albums represent 53.8% of all physical album sales (12.667 million of 23.531 million).

Vinyl’s 68% share of the physical album market in the week ending April 28 represents vinyl’s largest weekly slice of the physical album market since Luminate began tracking sales in 1991. It surpasses vinyl’s 62% share during Record Store Day 2021’s second drop (week ending July 22, 2021).

Independent store album sales in U.S.: 1.2 million – up 133.2% compared to the previous week (515,000). It’s the biggest album sales week at indie stores in 2022, and the largest since the week ending Dec. 23, 2021, when 1.233 million albums were sold at indies.

Independent store CD album sales in U.S.: 185,000 – up 19.9% compared to the previous week (154,000). It’s the largest sales week for CD album sales at indie stores in 2022. The last bigger week was the week ending Dec. 30, 2021, when 210,000 CD albums were sold at indies. (Outside of the holiday shopping season, the last bigger week for CD album sales at indies was in the frame ending Nov. 2, 2021, when 217,000 CD albums were sold in the indie sector.)

Independent store vinyl album sales in U.S.: 1.012 million – up 183% compared to the previous week (358,000). That marks the largest week ever for the format at the indie sector since Luminate began tracking music sales in 1991. It surpasses the previous Luminate-era high for weekly vinyl album sales at indies, with 942,000 sold in the week ending June 17, 2021 (during Record Store Day 2021’s first drop).

51.5% of all albums sold in the U.S. in the week ending April 28 were sold via independent record stores (1.2 million of 2.33 million). For context, year-to-date, indie store album sales comprise 29.7% of all album sales (9.039 million of 30.399 million).

61.7% of all physical albums sold in the U.S. in the week ending April 28 were sold via independent record stores (1.2 million of 1.946 million). Year-to-date, 38.4% of all physical albums sold in the U.S. were sold via indie stores (9.039 million of 23.531 million).

76.9% of all vinyl albums sold in the U.S. in the week ending April 28 were sold via independent record stores (1.012 million of 1.316 million). Year-to-date, 51.8% of all vinyl albums were sold via indie record stores (6.564 million of 12.667 million).

43.4% of all albums sold in the U.S. in the week ending April 28 were vinyl albums sold via independent record stores (1.012 million of 2.33 million). Year-to-date, 21.5% of all albums sold in the U.S. have been vinyl albums via indie record stores (6.564 million of 30.399 million).

52% of all physical albums sold in the U.S. in the week ending April 28 were vinyl albums sold via independent record stores (1.012 million of 1.946 million). Year-to-date, 27.9% of all physical albums sold in the U.S. have been vinyl albums sold via indie record stores (6.564 million of 23.531 million).

58% of vinyl albums sold via independent record stores in the U.S. were of the rock genre (590,000 of 1.012 million). 57.2% of all vinyl albums sold industry wide in the U.S. were rock titles (752,000 of 1.316 million).

Year-to-date, the rock genre comprises 58.9% of vinyl albums sold through indie record stores (3.855 million of 6.564 million). While rock holds 55% of all vinyl albums sold industry wide (6.973 million of 12.667 million). 

Top Record Store Day Exclusive Albums at Independent Record Stores in U.S.
Rank, Artist, Title
1. Childish Gambino, Kauai (multicolor vinyl)
2. Stevie Nicks, Bella Donna (double vinyl)
3. Wallows, Wallows Singles Collection 2017-2020 (sky blue colored vinyl)
4. The Cure, Pornography (picture disc vinyl)
5. Joni Mitchell, Blue Highlights: Demos, Outtakes, Live (vinyl)
6. CZARFACE, Czarmageddon! (double vinyl)
7. Future, DS2 (teal colored double vinyl)
8. Kacey Musgraves, Star-Crossed (picture disc vinyl)
9. Mariah Carey, #1’s (double vinyl)
10. The Offspring, Greatest Hits (aqua blue colored vinyl)
11. Lou Reed, I’m So Free: The 1971 RCA Demos (vinyl)
12. Grateful Dead, Live at Wembley Empire Pool, London, England (4/8/72) (five vinyl LP set)
13. The Rolling Stones, More Hot Rocks (Big Hits & Fazed Cookies) (180 gram glow-in-the-dark double vinyl)
14. The Replacements, Unsuitable for Airplay – The Lost KFAI Concert (140 gram double vinyl)
15. The Doors, L.A. Woman Sessions (four vinyl LP set)
16. Kirk Hammett, Portals (ocean blue colored vinyl)
17. The Jackson 5, ABC (blue colored vinyl)
18. Pixies, Live From Coachella 2004 (140 gram yellow and orange marbled double vinyl)
19. Willie Nelson, Live at the Texas Opry House, 1974 (double vinyl)
20. The Ramones, The Sire Albums 1981-1989 (neon pink colored seven LP set)
21. Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, Acoustics (vinyl)
22. David Bowie, Brilliant Adventure EP (vinyl)
23 (TIE). Red Hot Chili Peppers, Unlimited Love (silver colored double vinyl)
23 (TIE). The Cranberries, Remember Dolores (double vinyl)
25. David Bowie, Toy E.P. (“You’ve Got It Made With All the Toys”) (10-inch vinyl)

Top Record Store Day Exclusive Singles at Independent Record Stores in U.S.
Rank, Artist, Title

1. Alice In Chains, We Die Young
2. Taylor Swift, The Lakes
3. Foo Fighters, Making a Fire (Mark Ronson Re-Version) / Chasing Birds (Preservation Hall Jazz Band Re-Version)
4. U2, A Celebration (40th Anniversary)
5. Madonna, Who’s That Girl (Super Club Mix)
6. Vince Guaraldi Trio, Baseball Theme
7. Cypress Hill, The 420 Remixes
8. Blondie, Sunday Girl EP
9. Durand Jones & The Indications, Power to the People
10. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Magic Secrets

Source: Luminate, for the week ending April 28, 2022

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