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New 'Billboard' Report Says Amazon Is Top Seller Of Vinyl, Not Urban Outfitters

by Shawn Christ   Sep 29, 2014 20:37 PM EDT

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Remember when Urban Outfitters said it was the top seller of vinyl in the world? Well, according to a new report by Billboard, that claim is not true.

After Urban Outfitters' Chief Administrative Officer Calvin Hollinger said the store was number one for vinyl sales in the world, Billboard surveyed record label execs, distributors and wholesalers (approximately 80 percent of the U.S. market) before finding out that it's actually Amazon that sells the most vinyl.

The breakdown goes something like this: the online giant is the largest seller of vinyl in the U.S. with 12.3 percent of the market share, Urban Outfitters takes second with 8.1 percent, and Hastings Entertainment comes in third with 2.8 percent. Hot Topic (2.4 percent), Trans World Entertainment (2.2 percent) and smaller accounts like Audiophile, Acoustic Sounds and Newbury Comics (between 1.5 and 2 percent) have significantly lower shares of the market. Although the survey only covered the U.S., distribution executives noted that Amazon has a larger international reach compared to Urban Outfitters, which has about 50 stores outside of its 300-store U.S. territory.

Vinyl as a whole is making a small comeback, with stores like Whole Foods and Guitar Center testing the waters with selling the format. According to Nielson Soundscan numbers, vinyl makes up 3.5 percent of album sales whereas 10 years ago, it made up 0.2 percent. "The vinyl numbers are extraordinary," one distribution executive told Billboard. "Up until about a year ago, I though it was a cool contemporary fad — but now it is an established business and continuing to grow. Vinyl is part of the sales and marketing mix of almost everybody I am in business with."

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