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News October 27, 2015

Urban Outfitters are the world’s #1 seller of vinyl

Former Editor

US-based clothing company Urban Outfitters claims it’s the world’s #1 seller of vinyl records.

The statement was reportedly made in a meeting between Urban Outfitter’s Chief Administrative Officer Calvin Hollinger and analysts. “Music is very, very important to the Urban customer […] in fact, we are the world’s number one vinyl seller,” he said.

The retailer introduced vinyl to its inventory in mid-2013, a move which wasn’t received well by US’ independent arts sector; in the past Urban Outfitters has been accused of plagiarising independent designers and donating revenue to right wing causes. According to reports, it’s the system it uses that has seen it overtake competing retail companies like Amazon: Urban Outfitters doesn’t purchase the LPs it sells, instead it ‘rents’ digital and physical shelf space to more than 100 vendors looking to push their stock, without actually owning the inventory.

The claim isn’t exactly shocking; not many retailers in the US stock vinyl and it’s no secret CD sales take a nosedive each year. Locally, vinyl’s wholesale value has grown exponentially. When ARIA compared the Australian market shipments of vinyl in 2010 vs 2013, the figure has more than tripled.


Mike Glynn, Product Manager for Music at JB Hi-Fi, said in a statement to Universal Music: “We’ve seen a tremendous increase in sales of vinyl, particularly over the last 18 months, across all genres; both on deep catalogue titles and specific new release albums too. Accordingly we’ve dedicated more and more space to key stores to accommodate consumer demand for vinyl. It’s an exciting cyclical phenomenon to witness”.

Chris Pepperell, owner of Sydney’s Redeye Records, said: “Vinyl is now 40% of our business compared to 15% three years ago. The growth in vinyl sales is being led by a younger male AND female demographic aged from about 15 to 25, and backed up by legion of old guard collectors who have always loved and supported the format.”

Today, Universal Music announced The October Revolution, where it will make 80 classic albums available on vinyl from retailers and via

2013 sales figures for the US saw 6.1 million LPs sold. The figure released by SoundScan marks the largest number sold since 1991 with an annual jump of 32%. Jack White claimed the highest-selling vinyl album in the US last year, he sold 40,000 copies of Lazaretto in its first week of release and eventually beat out Pearl Jam’s 1994 LP Vitalogy.


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