U.S. Vinyl Album Sales Score Best Week of 2020, Thanks to Walmart Sale


U.S. vinyl album sales vaulted to their best week of the year, thanks largely to sale pricing and promotion at Walmart. In the week ending Nov. 19, vinyl album sales increased 55.5% to 943,000 copies sold, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. That also marks the third-largest week for vinyl since 1991, when Nielsen Music/MRC Data began electronically tracking music sales.

Sales of vinyl albums at mass merchant stores (which include the Walmart chain) comprised 315,000 of the week’s total. On Nov. 14, Walmart discounted all vinyl albums in-store to $15 — including Walmart-exclusive variants (like colored vinyl).

The last time overall U.S. vinyl album sales were higher was in the week ending Dec. 26, 2019, when volume hit 1.24 million sold — the largest week for vinyl album sales in the Nielsen Music/MRC Data era.

Among the biggest beneficiaries of Walmart’s promotion are Queen’s Greatest Hits (23,000 vinyl LPs sold, industry-wide, up 1,006%), Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours (16,000; up 369%) and Bob Marley and the Wailers’ Legend (15,000; up 639%).

The increase in vinyl sales helped Queen’s Greatest Hits, first released in 1981, reach the top 10 of the Billboard 200 chart for the first time, Rumours rose 23-12 and Marley’s Legend jumped 79-19.

It’s expected that vinyl sales will continue to post some sizable numbers through the rest of 2020. Target launched its own discount promotion on vinyl on Nov. 22 (pricing vinyl as low as $20, along with a buy-two, get-one free offer) while Record Store Day Black Friday festivities at independent records stores on Nov. 27 will offer up exclusive and hard-to-find albums only at indie retailers. After that, the usual holiday shopping season rush is sure to keep vinyl sales sturdy through Christmas.

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