Record Store Day 2020 Drops Helped Sell Nearly 2 Million Albums at Indie Retail

Written by on November 9, 2020

The drops generated 34% of all indie store CD and vinyl album sales since August.

Record Store Day 2020’s three-part drop series came to a close on Oct. 24 — and continued to generate big album sales for indie stores and the music industry.

The drops (staged on Aug. 29, Sept. 26 and Oct. 24) combined to help generate 1.95 million in CD and vinyl album sales at indie stores in the U.S. — with 1.41 million of that in vinyl album sales, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. Those sums represent a sizable 34% and 38%, respectively, of overall indie store CD and vinyl album sales, and vinyl album sales-only, from July 31 through Oct. 29.

Traditionally, Record Store Day festivities occur on a Saturday in the spring across independent record stores. Record Store Day draws many customers into indie stores, hoping to purchase the many unique and limited-edition albums — most on vinyl — released exclusively to indie stores for the holiday. In turn, the halo effect of these sales drives up album sales in general.

In 2020, due to COVID-related complications, Record Store Day (which was slated for April 18) was spread across three days (Aug. 29, Sept. 26 and Oct. 24), and dubbed drops by the Record Store Day folks. In turn, the Record Store Day-exclusive albums intended to be released on April 18 were also spread across those three drops.

Albums that were released specifically for the third drop include a green vinyl pressing of the U.K. edition of The Rolling Stones’ MetamorphosisMiles Davis’ Double Image: Rare Miles From the Complete Bitches Brew Sessions on red opaque vinyl and the first vinyl release of The Who’s A Quick Live One: Live at the Monterey International Pop Festival. The latter was the top selling Record Store Day-exclusive title at indie stores in the week ending Oct. 29, with 6,500 copies sold. It debuts at No. 3 on the Tastemaker Albums chart, which ranks the top selling albums of the week at indie stores.

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