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Record Store Day sales soar amid soaring US vinyl sales

Data: RIAA; Graphic: Axios Visuals

Waterloo Records sales rebounded to pre-pandemic levels for Saturday’s “Record Store Day”, a global event packed with vinyl and CD releases.

why is it important: Record Store Day usually marks the biggest sales day of the year for Waterloo and other stores, and after a two-year decline, owner John Kunz said Waterloo sales in 2022 surpassed pre-pandemic numbers in 2019.

The big picture: Kunz estimated that 200 music fans were online by the time the store opened at 7 a.m., hoping to get their hands on exclusive releases from their favorite artists.

Some of that interest was driven by Taylor Swift exclusive — and very limited — 7” release of “The lakes“, which led Waterloo and other Austin record stores to create a design for customers to meet the increased demand.

  • 700 Swift fans entered the Waterloo contest for Swift’s record, Kunz told Axios.

Yes, but: Swift has only released 10,000 records.

  • “The [are] 1,400 stores are participating in Record Store Day, so if you do that math, the average store will only have seven,” Kunz said.
  • End of an Ear cozy record store also asked Swift fans to grab separate designs for their limited supply: “Orders far exceeded demand,” the store tweeted.

Of course, it’s not just Swift. Waterloo customers of all ages lined up to buy exclusive vinyl records from their favorite artists.

  • Childish Gambino ‘Kauai’ was the top performer at Waterloo on Saturday, followed by Willie Nelson’s set of two records during his performances at the Texas Opry Housewhich has never been released on vinyl before.

Zoom out: Although it is still a streaming world, decades-old music formats are experiencing a recent resurgence in popularity, Reporting by Tim Baysinger of Axios.

  • Sales of physical media — vinyl records and CDs — increased in 2021 to first time in almost 20 years.
  • In particular, vinyl revenues increased by more than 50% last year.

What they say : “It’s more than a trend,” Kunz said of the surge in record sales. “There’s just something human about it that’s something to hold and read.”

In the live music capital of the world, Austinites will have no trouble finding an Austin store ready to help old-school music lovers add rare gems to their vinyl collections.

Local spots to add to your list: