Record Store Day 2023 Gives Indie Stores Biggest Boost in 15 Years

 Record Store Day 2023 Gives Indie Stores Biggest Boost in 15 Years

RSD helped drive a modern-era record of 1.426 million vinyl albums sold in the U.S. at independent shops during the week ending April 27.

Record Store Day 2023 Gives Indie Stores Biggest Boost in 15 Years
RSD helped drive a modern-era record of 1.426 million vinyl albums sold in the U.S. at independent shops during the week ending April 27.

Record Store Day once again spurred big sales of music on vinyl and at independent record stores in the United States, according to data tracking firm Luminate – resulting in some eye-popping numbers.

This year’s edition of the indie record store celebration, held on April 22, helped sell 1.809 million vinyl albums in total across all retailers and sellers (not just indie stores) in the U.S. in the week ending April 27, according to Luminate. That sum marks a record number of vinyl albums sold in a Record Store Day (RSD) week (including Black Friday-related RSD celebrations), and the fourth-largest week for vinyl album sales since Luminate began tracking music sales in 1991.

RSD 2023 also drove a modern-era record of 1.426 million vinyl albums sold in the U.S. at independent record stores April 21-27. That is the largest week ever for the format at the indie sector in Luminate history, since the company began tracking sales in 1991. It surpasses the previous Luminate-era high for weekly vinyl album sales at indies, with 1.012 million sold in the week ending April 28, 2022 (during RSD 2022). (Vinyl was so big at indies – 79% of all vinyl albums sold that week, industry-wide, were sold through indie record stores.)

Further, independent record stores sold 1.673 million albums in total across all formats (vinyl, CD, cassette, etc.) in the week ending April 27 – marking the biggest album sales week at indie stores since at least before January 2008, when Luminate began archiving data specific to this sector. Fifty-seven percent of all albums sold in the U.S. (across all formats, both physical and digital) in the week ending April 27 were sold via independent record stores.

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, and available only at participating independent record stores. (In 2020 and 2021, RSD celebrations were heavily altered and spread across multiple events [dubbed “Drops”] due to COVID-19, while the event was mostly back to its pre-pandemic self for the 2022 edition, and it was business as usual for the 2023 installment.)

Among the unique titles that hit shelves for Record Store Day 2023: the vinyl debut of Taylor Swift’s acoustic live set Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions (pressed on grey-colored double vinyl, in a massive 75,000-production run in the U.S. – an unusually high quantity for a RSD title), the vinyl and CD debut of Pearl Jam’s 1998 concert recording Give Way, the vinyl premiere of Stevie Nicks’ Bella Donna: Live 1981 concert recording, Tori Amos’ Little Earthquakes: B-Sides on vinyl and a reissue of The Rolling Stones’ Beggars Banquet on grey, blue, black and white swirl-colored vinyl. All five releases are among the top-selling RSD-exclusive titles for the week (see lists, below).

The husband-and-wife team of Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires (Record Store Day Ambassadors for 2023) gifted RSD with two releases: a four-track EP from the duo (The Sound Emporium EP) and a four-track EP from Shires (Live at Columbia Studio A) that includes a guest appearance from Isbell.

Here are some facts on Record Store Day 2023’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 27, 2023, 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):

2.923 million – up 44.4% compared to the previous week (2.02 million). It’s the largest album sales week in 2023.

The last larger week was the week ending Dec. 22, 2022, when 3.897 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 April 26, 2018, during RSD 2018, when 3.267 million albums were sold.)

Industry-wide total physical album sales in U.S. (CD, vinyl, cassette, etc.):

2.583 million – up 54.3% compared to the previous week (1.675 million). It’s the largest sales week for physical album sales in 2023.

The last bigger week was the week ending Dec. 22, 2022, when 3.526 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 Feb. 18, 2016, when 2.710 million physical albums were sold.)

Industry-wide CD album sales in U.S.:

760,000 – up 9.6% compared to the previous week (693,000).

Industry-wide vinyl album sales in U.S.:

1.809 million – up 878.5% compared to the previous week (965,000).

That 1.809 million sum translates to a record number of vinyl albums sold in any Record Store Day-related week (including Black Friday-related RSD festivities) and the fourth-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. 22, 2022, when 2.232 million vinyl albums were sold. The Nos. 2-5 largest weeks are: week ending Dec. 23, 2021 (2.115 million); Dec. 24, 2020 (1.842 million); April 27, 2023

(1.809 million; includes RSD 2023) and Dec. 29, 2022 (1.57 million).

62% of all albums sold in the U.S. in the week ending April 27 were vinyl albums

(1.809 million of 2.922 million). For context, year-to-date, vinyl albums comprise 48% of all album sales (16.296 million of 33.707 million).

70% of all physical albums sold in the U.S. in the week ending April 27 were vinyl albums

(1.809 million of 2.583 million). Year-to-date, vinyl albums represent 59% of all physical album sales (16.296 million of 27.699 million).

Independent store album sales in U.S.: 1.673 million – up 112% compared to the previous week (789,000). That marks the biggest album sales week at indie stores since at least before January 2008, when Luminate began archiving data specific to this sector.

Independent store CD album sales in U.S.: 238,000 – up 11% compared to the previous week (216,000). It’s the largest sales week for CD album sales at indie stores in 2023. The last bigger week was the week ending Dec. 22, 2022, when 268,000 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 March 12, 2020, when 239,000 CD albums were sold in the indie sector.)

Independent store vinyl album sales in U.S.: 1.426 million – up 152% compared to the previous week (566,000). 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 1.012 sold in the week ending April 28, 2022 (during the week of Record Store Day 2022).

57% of all albums sold in the U.S. in the week ending April 27 were sold via independent record stores (1.672 million of 2.922 million). For context, year-to-date, indie store album sales comprise 37% of all album sales (12.459 million of 33.707 million).

65% of all physical albums sold in the U.S. in the week ending April 27 were sold via independent record stores (1.672 million of 2.583 million). Year-to-date, 45% of all physical albums sold in the U.S. were sold via indie stores (12.459 million of 27.699 million).

79% of all vinyl albums sold in the U.S. in the week ending April 27 were sold via independent record stores (1.426 million of 1.809 million). Year-to-date, 57% of all vinyl albums were sold via indie record stores (9.317 million of 16.296 million).

49% of all albums sold in the U.S. in the week ending April 27 were vinyl albums sold via independent record stores (1.426 million of 2.922 million). Year-to-date, 28% of all albums sold in the U.S. have been vinyl albums via indie record stores (9.317 million of 33.707 million).

55% of all physical albums sold in the U.S. in the week ending April 27 were vinyl albums sold via independent record stores (1.426 million of 2.583 million). Year-to-date, 34% of all physical albums sold in the U.S. have been vinyl albums sold via indie record stores (9.317 million of 27.699 million).

57% of vinyl albums sold via independent record stores in the U.S. in the week ending April 27 were of the rock genre (814,723 of 1.426 million). Fifty-six percent of all vinyl albums sold industry wide in the U.S. were rock titles (1,013,297 of 1,809,301 million). Year-to-date, the rock genre comprises 57% of vinyl albums sold through indie record stores (5,353,048 million of 9.317 million). While rock holds 54% of all vinyl albums sold industry wide (8.722 million of 16.296 million).

Top-Selling Record Store Day 2023 Exclusive Albums at Independent Record Stores in U.S. Rank, Artist, Title

  1. Taylor Swift, Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions (grey colored double vinyl)
  2. Pearl Jam, Give Way (double vinyl)
  3. (TIE). The Cure, Show (double vinyl picture disc)
  4. (TIE). Stevie Nicks, Bella Donna: Live 1981 (double vinyl)
  5. (TIE). Grateful Dead, Boston Garden,
  6. Boston, MA 5.7.77 (five vinyl LP box set)
  7. (TIE). The Rolling Stones, Beggars Banquet (swirl-colored vinyl)
  8. Tori Amos, Little Earthquakes: B-Sides (vinyl)
  9. Jason Isbell & Amanda Shires, The
  10. Sound Emporium EP (vinyl) .
  11. Larry Lovestein & The Velvet Revival,
  12. You (gold-colored 10-inch vinyl)
  13. The Ramones, Pleasant Dreams (vinyl)
  14. Beach House, Become (crystal clear-colored vinyl)Billy Joel, Live at the Great American Music Hall, 1975 (double vinyl)
  15. The Allman Brothers Band Suria Mosque Pittsburgh, PA January 17, 1971(steel grey-colored double vinyl)
  16. Van Halen, Live: Right Here, Right Now (four vinyl LP set)
  17. Jerry Garcia Band, How Sweet It Is…(double vinyl)
  18. Madonna, American Life: Mixshow Mix (Honoring Peter Rauhofer) (180 gram vinyl)
  19. Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Return to the 36 Chambers (double vinyl picture disc)
  20. Miles Davis, Turnaround: Rare Miles From the Complete On the Corner Sessions (sky blue-colored vinyl)
  21. Dolly Parton, The Monument Singles Collection: 1964-1968 (vinyl)
  22. Chet Baker, Chet (180 gram vinyl)
  23. (TIE). The Black Keys, Live at Beachland Tavern March 31, 2002 (tangerine-colored vinyl)
  24. (TIE). Paul McCartney and Wings, Red Rose Speedway (half-speed vinyl)
  25. Blur, Blur Present the Special Collectors Edition (colored double vinyl)
  26. Tom Tom Club, Tom Tom Club (Expanded Edition) (double vinyl)
  27. (TIE). Sisters of Mercy, The Reptile House E.P. (smoky-colored vinyl)
  28. (TIE). Various Artists, Jazz Dispensary: Hotel Jolie Dame (psych-sunset orange marble-colored vinyl)
  29. (TIE). Wilco, Crosseyed Strangers: An Alternate Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (vinyl)

Top-Selling Record Store Day 2023 Exclusive Singles at Independent Record Stores in U.S. Rank, Artist, Title

  1. The Mars Volta, Frances the Mute / The Widow (12-inch vinyl)
  2. U2, Two Hearts Beat as One / Sunday Bloody Sunday (180-gram 12-inch white- colored vinyl)
  3. Motley Crue, Helter Skelter (12-inch picture disc vinyl)
  4. Post Malone, Waiting for Never / Hateful (12-inch translucent red-colored vinyl)
  5. Fleetwood Mac, Albatross / Jigsaw Puzzle Blues (12-inch vinyl)
  6. Bjork, The Fossora Remixes (12-inch vinyl)
  7. (TIE). Maya Hawke, To Love a Boy / Stay Open (7-inch vinyl)
  8. (TIE). Sam Smith & Kim Petras, Unholy (colored 7-inch vinyl)
  9. The Doors, Break on Through (3-inch vinyl
  10. The Doors, Love Her Madly (3-inch vinyl)

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