Black Friday Vinyl Sales Surge, Near Post-1991 High

Marc Hogan

By Marc Hogan

Lead News Writer
on 12.05.14 in News

A bright spot in a bleak Black Friday weekend for music sales was the ongoing resurgence of vinyl.

The week that ended November 30 was the second-biggest sales week for vinyl albums since Nielsen started SoundScan in 1991. With 259,000 vinyl LPs sold, purchases were up 49 percent over the same week last year, according to Nielsen Music. Vinyl’s biggest week of the SoundScan era was the week of Record Store Day 2014, with 369K vinyl sales tracked by Nielsen.

Vinyl sales gains went far beyond the independent stores involved in Record Store Day‘s fifth annual “Back to Black Friday” event, but indies did see a bump. Their vinyl album sales rose 19 percent compared with the same week last year, according to Nielsen. Indie stores’ overall album sales for the week were up 4 percent from 2013.

RSD’s Black Friday list of special releases this year included vinyl established artists such as David Bowie, Miles Davis and Neil Young along with rising artists like Chvrches, Fantomas and St. Vincent, as well as more leftfield names. The BeatlesLong Tall Sally EP, an RSD exclusive reissue, ranked as the week’s biggest-selling vinyl album with 5,300 copies purchased, according to Nielsen.

Overall album sales, however, extended their decline last week. As Billboard reports, citing separate Nielsen data, album sales fell 15 percent in the week of Black Friday compared with 2013, sinking to 7.3 million units. That’s worse than the 12 percent drop in album sales the music business has experienced through the entire year.

Despite vinyl’s comeback, then, vinyl album sales still accounted for less than 4 percent of overall album sales for the week — a mere drop in an ever-smaller bucket.

Vinyl albums have sold 7.6 million copies so far this year, according to Nielsen, having beaten last year’s SoundScan-era record sales of 6.1 million way back in early October. Jack White has had a good year, but there’s a reason the Billboard 200 album chart now counts streaming.