Apr 22, 2022 - Business

National Record Store Day a boon for NWA retailers

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

April 23 is the 15th annual National Record Store Day.

  • Yes, records as in albums, LPs and EPs.
  • The idea is to drive sales of records and promote special vinyl drops.

The big picture: In 2020, U.S. vinyl sales topped CD sales for the first time since 1986, Axios' Erica Pandey reported last fall.

  • The pandemic had a lot to do with both people jumping into the hobby and existing hobbyists beefing up their collections.
  • Vinyl record sales topped $1 billion in 2021, up 61% from the year before.

Zoom in: There are only a few retailers that specialize in selling vinyl records in NWA. Block Street Records, with stores in Fayetteville and Bentonville, is the largest.

  • The stores sell both new and used stock.
  • Block Street owner Wade Ogle told Axios the national recognition on Record Store Day has been "pretty phenomenal" for his business in years past.

The intrigue: Customers range from young teens to the elderly, he said. The appeal is a more immersive experience while listening to music.

Big Fish Vinyl Records in Springdale sells only vintage albums and has a following of collectors from around the region.

  • Owner Rod Cameron told us this type of collecting is more about the thrill of the rare find, like a mint condition 1955 Hank Williams album he picked up recently.

The bottom line: A novice can get entry-level listening equipment for $300 or get pretty decent gear for around $1,000 at Block Street, Ogle said.

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U.S. vinyl record revenues, 1973–2021
Data: RIAA; Chart: Axios Visuals

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