Apr 21, 2023 - News

Record Store Day returns amid climbing vinyl sales

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U.S. vinyl record revenues, 1973–2022
Data: RIAA; Chart: Axios Visuals

Local record stores are expecting a busy Record Store Day on Saturday as vinyl sales continue to rebound, outperforming CDs for the first time in more than three decades last year.

Why it matters: It's still a streaming world, but decades-old music formats have seen a boost in popularity in recent years. Record Store Day usually marks the biggest sales day of the year for local stores.

By the numbers: National vinyl record sales in 2022 outperformed CDs 41 million to 33 million, according to a recent report from the Recording Industry Association of America.

  • Vinyl sales grew to $1.2 billion in 2022, up 17% from the previous year and the 16th consecutive year of growth.
  • Revenues from all physical music formats were up 4% year over year, or $1.7 billion. Record sales accounted for 71% of physical format revenues, per RIAA.

Flashback: The pandemic slowed record sales in 2020, but RIAA's report noted a "remarkable resurgence" of physical music in 2021.

  • Last year, Waterloo Records store owner John Kunz told Axios that he finally saw Record Store Day sales top pre-pandemic figures after a two-year decline.

What to know: If you're interested in tracking down a limited-release record Saturday, expect to wait in line with hundreds of other music lovers.

  • Limited quantities are released only at indie record stores and will not be available online.
  • There are no options for pre-orders, holds or phone orders.

What they're saying: Antone's Record Store manager Ray Colgan told Axios that, like last year, the store has received the most inquiries about Taylor Swift's release — this time a special issue vinyl of "folklore: the long pond studio sessions."

  • Fans camped outside Antone's and other record stores last year to snag a copy of Swift's exclusive 7-inch release of "the lakes," which led Waterloo and others to create a drawing to meet demand. Swifties can expect more copies this year.
  • As far as what to expect from other releases that will draw the most buzz, Colgan said, "I've found that I'm really bad at guessing."

Austinites won't have a hard time tracking down a record store to add rare gems to their vinyl collections. Shops participating in Record Store Day include:

The bottom line: Have fun and be open to finding new music, Colgan said.

  • "Be open to whatever you find. Don't pin all your hopes on getting that one item."

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