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Urban Outfitters Has Become the World's Top Seller of Vinyl Records

by Joey DeGroot   Sep 25, 2014 12:28 PM EDT

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In a bit of news sure to get under the skin of die-hard record collectors, BuzzFeed reports that clothing retailer Urban Outfitters is the world's top seller of vinyl records.

"Music is very, very important to the Urban customer," said Urban Outfitters chief administrative officer Calvin Hollinger. "In fact, we are the world's No. 1 vinyl seller."

Though the music industry has been steadily declining since the popularization of file sharing and digital music in the early 2000s, vinyl sales have remained surprisingly robust, with sales in 2013 reaching 6.1 million units, the highest since the start of the Nielsen Soundscan era in 1991.

The founding of Record Store Day in 2007 gave a huge boost to the industry, and in June Jack White's most recent album, Lazarettobroke the record for most one-week vinyl sales in the Soundscan era with 40,000 units, no doubt helping 2014 top last year's record-high numbers.

Forbes reports that in 2012 independent record stores accounted for 64 percent of all record sales in the United States, though more non-music retailers seem to be following Urban Outfitters's example and have begun selling vinyl as well. Both Target and Whole Foods now carry vinyl, though Forbes reports that their sales "aren't significant yet."

What is most interesting about Urban Outfitters's vinyl sales is that its top buyers are not baby boomers or Gen-Xers who had grown up with the technology, but rather its key demographic of 18- to 28-year-olds, who would presumably be more familiar with streaming music or digital formats, such as iTunes or Spotify.

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