And the star of Record Store Day is….

By Haley Jones
, Head of Independents
Head of Independents
May 16, 2023
— 3 min read
By Haley Jones
, Head of Independents
Head of Independents
May 16, 2023
— 3 min read

I’m not sure about you, but when I first heard of Record Store Day, it sounded like another eccentric attempt to stave off disruption. Not dissimilar to what I imagined you might have heard around a Kodak conference room table in the mid 90s, “digital photography is a novelty. Let’s double down on prints…”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of vinyl and I’ve met many interesting characters at record stores, but I did not see how a niche promotion could get people off of their screens and back onto Main Street…not with much significance anyway.

Yet here we are: 2023’s Record Store Day is the most successful yet. And it turns out it’s more than just a nod to vinyl’s comeback.

Some quick facts:

  • Record Store Day 2023 is the best vinyl week on record for independent record stores, since its inception
  • Independent Record Stores sold 1.7m physical units (LPs, CDs and cassettes) during week 17 2023, 82% of which were vinyl (1.4m LPs)
  • Independent Record Stores were a major contributor (64%) for the full week’s physical sales.  See the graph below.
  • Week 17 is the biggest week for physical sales so far in 2023, with a total of 2.6m units sold
On the left side of the image is a pie chart titled 'Physical Product Format Share the Week of RSD 2023' representing the following data: Vinyl is 66.3%, CD is 28.8%, Others are 4.8%. On the right side of the image is a pie chart titled 'Retail Strata Share the Week of RSD 2023' representing the following data: Chain is a percentage too small to represent, Indie is 64.4%, Mass Merchant is 9.9%, IMO is 22.8%. There is a note that this data Includes All Physical Sales (LP, CD, Cassettes)

Record Store Day was conceived in 2007 as a way to celebrate the fun and diverse culture surrounding independent record stores and the communities they serve.In 2023, the emerging star of Record Store Day is exactly what RSD founders had hoped: exclusive content. In addition to the usual festivities, this year’s list of dedicated albums included everyone from Chet Baker to The Doors, to The 1975. 

Top 10 Record Store Day Titles (LP / Indie Strata Only)
1. Taylor Swift - folklore: the long pond studio sessions 
2. Pearl Jam - Give Way 
3. The Cure - Show (2023 Remaster) 
4. Stevie Nicks - Bella Donna Live 1981 
5. The Rolling Stones - Beggars Banquet 
6. Grateful Dead - Boston Garden, Boston, MA 5/7/77 (Live) 
7. Tori Amos - Little Earthquakes - The B-Sides 
8. Jason Isbell & Amanda Shires - The Sound Emporium EP 
9. Larry Lovestein & The Velvet Revival - You 
10. The Ramones - Pleasant Dreams (The New York Mixes)

So who are these fun loving vinyl buying music fans? The Luminate Insights team offers a better understanding through the most recent wave of the US Music 360 consumer research study:

  • Influencers among friends: 61% of vinyl buyers say they are the first to among their friends to discover new music
  • Heavy spenders: vinyl buyers spend 135% more money on music each month
  • It’s true that not all vinyl buyers have a record player, but as they get older the percentage gets higher
    • 57% of Gen Z do not own a record player
    • 52% of Millennials do not
    • 35% of Gen X do not
    • 16% of Boomers do not (which means 84% of Boomer vinyl buyers do)

Mark your calendars now for Record Store Day 2024, which will be 4.20.  Let us know if we can help you dig in more.

Oh and if you happen to be at Music Biz this week, start the conversation in person and/or get a sneak peek of next generation Music Connect. Here’s our schedule.


By Kelley Williams, Brett Banducci, Yoomi Hong
May 23, 2023
— 2 min read

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