You would think that with retail stores of all sizes suffering because of the pandemic that record stores especially would be hard hit. That might be true for other times during this situation, but on the first weekend of the annual Record Store Day vinyl sales again proved to be a big winner.
The 13 year-old event has expanded from just one weekend to 3 spaced out of the course 3 consecutive months this year and they never seem to disappoint, especially when some retailers see sales jump as much as 47%.
Online retailer Discogs, for instance, saw 60,000+ orders last weekend compared to almost 43,000 in 2019, a 41.1% increase. This translates to almost 79,000 units sold in 2020 so far, up 47.12% from 54,000 sold in 2019.
Believe it or not, the biggest concern that the 1200 participating record retailers have this year is how to control the traffic into their stores, which is why the event has been spread out across the last weekends in August, September and October. During this past weekend, social distancing was able to be maintained and still accommodate anxious vinyl buyers. This includes a time limit of as little as 2 minutes (!) to a half-hour in the store, online forms to receive an assigned time, and even a lottery system for access.
Many retailers still decided or were forced to remain closed and instead shifted all access to online sales, including social media contests and Zoom calls for preferred customers.
As with every RSD, special edition vinyl albums by many major artists were planned, including The Black Keys, David Bowie, The Cure, Black Sabbath, Gary Clark Jr., John Lennon, Judas Priest, Pink Floyd, Pretenders, U2, The Who, and many more.
Vinyl sales have showed no signs of slowing down even during the pandemic. Enthusiasts may have limited access to brick and mortar stores, but they’re still finding ways to quench their thirst for the vinyl records they love online.
The fact that there are still 2 more weekends of Record Store Day bodes well for that part of the industry.