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In 2020, due to COVID-related complications, Record Store Day (which was slated for April 18) was spread across three days (Aug. 29, Sept. 26 and Oct. 24), and dubbed drops by the Record Store Day folks. In turn, the Record Store Day-exclusive albums intended to be released on April 18 were also spread across those three drops.

Albums that were released specifically for the third drop include a green vinyl pressing of the U.K. edition of The Rolling StonesMetamorphosis, Miles DavisDouble Image: Rare Miles From the Complete Bitches Brew Sessions on red opaque vinyl and the first vinyl release of The Who’s A Quick Live One: Live at the Monterey International Pop Festival. The latter was the top selling Record Store Day-exclusive title at indie stores in the week ending Oct. 29, with 6,500 copies sold. It debuts at No. 3 on the Tastemaker Albums chart, which ranks the top selling albums of the week at indie stores.

Combined Drop Impact at Indie Stores: Drop one on Aug. 29 helped drive 716,000 in CD and vinyl album sales at indie stores in the week ending Sept. 3, with 525,000 of that sum in vinyl LPs. Drop two on Sept. 26 helped push 625,000 in CD and vinyl album sales at indies in the week ending Oct. 1, with 444,000 of that sum in vinyl LPs. And finally, the third drop on Oct. 24 drove 606,000 CD and vinyl album sales at indies in the week ending Oct. 29, with 440,000 of that total in vinyl LPs.

Taken together, those three weeks add up to 1.95 million CD and vinyl albums sold at indie stores, with 1.41 million of that in vinyl LPs. In the 13 weeks between July 31 and Oct. 29, a total of 5.73 million CD and vinyl albums were sold at indie stores, while 3.72 million of that sum was in vinyl LPs. Thus, the 1.95 million sold in the three drop weeks represents 34 percent of sales during the 13-week tracking period, while the vinyl LP-only sum of 1.41 million equaled 38 percent of vinyl LP-only sales at indies in that same span of time.

To even better understand the significant impact of the Record Store Day drops, one can look at the average weekly sales total of CD and vinyl albums at indie stores — but without the drop-impact weeks.

Looking only at the 10 weeks from July 31 to Oct. 29 that did not include the three drop weeks — indie stores sold a weekly average of 378,000 CD and vinyl albums, with 231,000 of that sum in vinyl LP sales. Meanwhile, the three drop weeks generated a weekly average of 649,000 in CD and vinyl album sales, with 469,000 in vinyl LP sales.

Translation: In an average drop week, CD and vinyl album sales grew 72 percent at indie stores (comparing 378,000 to 649,000). Meanwhile, vinyl LP sales, in an average drop week, doubled — growing 103 percent (comparing 231,000 to 469,000).

Combined Drop Impact, Industry-Wide: Here’s a look at how the three Record Store Day drops, and their strong influence with indie store sales, helped generate a large share of the overall industry’s album sales across all sellers of music — as compared to their share during non-drop weeks. (For this story, industry means all sellers of music, which includes, but is not limited to, companies like Target, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iTunes, Walmart, as well as all indie stores.)

Each drop powered between 41 percent and 46 percent of overall industry CD and vinyl album sales in the drop weeks (represented as indie stores’ share of total industry CD and vinyl album sales). That’s up from indie stores’ average non-drop-week 31 percent share of industry CD and vinyl album sales. (See below.)

The comparison is more striking when only focusing on vinyl album sales, as the three drops represented between 59 percent to 66 percent of overall industry vinyl album sales — as compared to indie stores’ non-drop-week average of 41 percent of vinyl album sales. (See below.)

Drop one, Aug. 29 — sales week ending Sept. 3
Industry CD and vinyl album sales: 1.55 million
Indie store CD and vinyl album sales: 716,000 (46 percent of industry)
Industry vinyl album sales: 801,000
Indie store vinyl album sales: 525,000 (66 percent of industry)

Drop two, Sept. 26 — sales week ending Oct. 1
Industry CD and vinyl album sales: 1.50 million
Indie store CD and vinyl album sales: 625,000 (42 percent of industry)
Industry vinyl album sales: 714,000
Indie store vinyl album sales: 444,000 (62 percent of industry)

Drop three, Oct. 24 — sales week ending Oct. 29
Industry CD and vinyl album sales: 1.49 million
Indie store CD and vinyl album sales: 606,000 (41 percent of industry)
Industry vinyl album sales: 743,000
Indie store vinyl album sales: 440,000 (59 percent of industry)

To put the above numbers in context, let’s look at only at the weeks from July 31 to Oct. 29 that did not include the three drop weeks

July 31 — Oct. 29 Average Weekly Sales (Only the Non-Drop Weeks)
Industry CD and vinyl album sales: 1.21 million
Indie store CD and vinyl album sales: 378,000 (31 percent of industry)
Industry vinyl album sales: 505,000
Indie store vinyl album sales: 231,000 (46 percent of industry)

Oct. 24 – Third Drop Roundup — Indie Store Vinyl Album Sales: Looking at just the week ending Oct. 29, which contained the third and final drop (Oct. 24), vinyl album sales at brick-and-mortar independent record stores grew 76 percent that week to 440,000 (up from 250,000 in the week previous). That marked the third-largest week of 2020 for vinyl album sales at indie stores (following the two earlier drop weeks).

Oct. 24 – Third Drop Roundup — Industry-Wide Vinyl Album Sales: In terms of industry-wide vinyl album sales across all sellers, volume jumped 27 percent that week to 743,000 copies sold (up from 585,000). That 743,000 sum is the second-biggest vinyl sales week of 2020, trailing only the 800,000 sold in the week ending Sept 3 (which housed the first drop of 2020, on Aug. 29).

Of all vinyl albums sold in the U.S. in the week ending Oct. 29, 59 percent were sold via indie stores (440,000 of 743,000).

Year-to-Date Summary: With all three Record Store Day drops in the rear-view mirror, industry-wide year-to-date vinyl album sales, through Oct. 29, now stand at 17.89 million (up 38.2 percent compared to the same point a year ago) and indie store vinyl album sales stand at 7.3 million (up 24.9 percent). So far in 2020, indie stores account for 41 percent of all vinyl album sales.

Further, the three largest weeks of 2020 for vinyl album sales at indie stores all came courtesy of Record Store Day drops — 440,000 in week ending Oct. 29; 444,000 in week ending Oct. 1 and 525,000 in week ending Sept. 3.

Looking Back at Record Store Day 2019: For 2019’s Record Store Day festivities, held on just one day (April 13), the indie retailer holiday helped sell 673,000 vinyl albums at indie stores (in the week ending April 18). Industry-wide, 827,000 vinyl albums were sold in the week ending April 18, 2019.

That said, comparing the three individual drops of 2020 to one day (well, week) of 2019 isn’t a fair comparison, since the three drops likely encouraged more sales across a greater number of albums at indie stores — not just those earmarked as Record Store Day-exclusive releases.

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

All data is for the week ending Oct. 29 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): 2.050 million — up 6.3 percent compared to previous week.

Industry wide physical album sales (CD and vinyl, plus sales of cassettes and other niche physical formats): 1.497 million — up 5.2 percent compared to previous week.

Industry wide CD and vinyl album sales: 1.489 million — up 5.2 percent compared to previous week.

Industry wide CD album sales: 747,000 — down 9.4 percent compared to previous week.

Industry wide vinyl album sales: 743,000 — up 27 percent compared to previous week.

Independent store physical album sales across all formats: 606,000 — up 52 percent compared to previous week.

Independent store CD and vinyl album sales: 606,000 — up 52 percent compared to previous week.

Independent store CD album sales: 166,000 — up 11 percent compared to previous week.

Independent store vinyl album sales: 440,000 — up 76 percent compared to previous week.

https://www.billboard.com/articles/business/chart-beat/9479991/record-store-day-2020-drops-album-sales-indie-retail-vinyl-music-industry/

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