Record Store Day’s September Drop Brings Big Gains for U.S. Vinyl Album Sales

Also impressive, industry-wide physical album sales (CD, vinyl, etc.) totaled 1.52 million for the week, with indie stores claiming 41% of those sales (625,000).

The annual Record Store Day holiday was originally scheduled for April 18, but, due to COVID-19 concerns and complications, was split into three separate drops on Aug. 26, Sept. 26 and Oct. 24.

All of the titles that were intended to be released on April 18 for Record Store Day were then spread across the drop dates. Those titles include unique color vinyl variants, unique one-off pressings, hard-to-find archival projects, and reissues of classic or niche albums.

Albums that were released specifically for the second drop include Roger Waters’ The Wall: Live in Berlin (on clear vinyl), Paul McCartney’s McCartney (a half-speed vinyl pressing) and Fleetwood Mac’s The Alternate Rumours (alternate takes of the original classic Rumours album tracklist).

Following the second Record Store Day 2020 drop, industry-wide year-to-date vinyl album sales jumped past 15 million (climbing to 15.47 million) — up 31.2% compared to the same point a year ago. Focusing just on indie store vinyl album sales, volume has now surpassed 6 million (6.07 million) – up 12.6% compared to a year ago.

So far in 2020, industry-wide vinyl album sales represent 36.1% of all physical albums sold in the U.S. (15.47 million of 42.84 million). CD album sales account for 63.3% of physical albums sold year-to-date (27.13 million of 42.84 million). The remaining 0.6% not accounted for by vinyl or CDs are sales of other niche physical formats such as cassettes.

If vinyl album sales continue to keep up their weekly 2020 pace, they could hit new yearly highs – both in terms of total volume and share of the physical album market — once 2020 wraps.

Last year, for the 14th consecutive year, vinyl album sales grew to a new yearly high – 18.84 million sold. Further, in 2019, vinyl LP sales represented 25.6% of all physical album sales.

Here are some fast facts on Record Store Day 2020’s Second Drop and its sales impact.

All data is for the week ending Oct. 1 in the U.S., according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data.

Industry-wide total album sales across all formats (physical – including CD, vinyl, cassette, etc. and digital download): 2.203 million – up 23.5% compared to previous week.

Industry-wide physical album sales (CD, vinyl, cassette, etc.): 1.518 million – up 24.1% compared to previous week.

Industry-wide CD album sales: 789,000 – up 9.4% compared to previous week. That’s the best week for CD album sales since the week ending May 7 (885,000). CD sales were assisted in the latest week by the strong performance of SuperM’s new album Super One, which sold 61,000 CD copies – 7.7% of total CD sales for the week.

Industry-wide vinyl album sales: 714,000 – up 44% compared to previous week.

Independent store physical album sales: 625,000 – up 68% compared to previous week.

Independent store CD album sales: 181,000 – up 24% compared to previous week.

Independent store vinyl album sales: 444,000 – up 97% compared to previous week.

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