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Record Store Day 2012: More Successful Than 2011, Mostly

Record Store Day’s organizers announced yesterday that this year’s event, which took place April 21, was such a resounding success, indie stores saw double-digit-percentage leaps in sales compared to last year. This is indeed backed up by data from Nielsen SoundScan, but when Billboard compared overall 2012 album sales to 2011’s for the two weeks around RSD, there was an unfortunate dip — an 11.4 percent decline from 12.8 million units to 11.3 million units. (Thanks for nothing, Adele.)

Focusing on the positive, however! Overall, indie shops announced a 26.6 percent sales bump over last week’s numbers, with vinyl sales at those stores nearly tripling with a whopping 182.7 percent.
“With over 300 special releases, and over a million people who turned out to celebrate around the world, I’m excited, and a bit frightened, to say that Record Store Day was bigger than ever this year,” RSD co-founder and organizer Michael Kurtz said in Record Store Day’s official statement. Kurtz is also president of the Music Monitor Network, which manages the event every year. “The one thing I keep hearing over and over again from record store owners is how excited they are to see a massive return of people under the age of 25 to record stores, spurred mostly by vinyl and the culture around it. It’s fantastic.”

Stores around the country are reporting significant sales bumps individually over last year’s Record Store Day: Nashville’s Grimey’s reported a 42 percent raise, Detroit’s Dearborn Music was up 25 percent, Seattle’s Silver Platters up 20 percent, Atlanta’s Criminal Records (one of the founding RSD shops) up 18 percent, and Wisconsin’s Exclusive Company independent chain up 13 percent, according to RSD’s statement.

RSD last year resulted in an insane sales bump, too, with an 8 percent increase in overall album sales over the normal week before that, with 39 percent in independent stores’ numbers over the previous week. The 2011 numbers were speculated to be 70 percent better than 2010’s.

But while Record Store Day was a win for many retailers, not every indie shop is singing its praises. As the OC Weekly reports, there’s often uncomfortable competition between local shops, like California’s Amoeba Records and mom-and-pop shops like Long Beach’s local Fingerprints (where Foo Fighters played a set on last year’s RSD). To be fair, though, RSD’s website does come with this disclaimer: “There are a lot of independent stores that participate in Record Store Day. Not all of them will choose to participate in all promotions, or carry all releases.”