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Record Store Day hits new sales peak

By Mark Savage
BBC Music reporter

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image captionLimited edition releases lured fans into record shops in the UK and US

David Bowie and Bruce Springsteen helped Record Store Day reach a new peak in 2018.

Vinyl sales in the UK were up 16% year-on-year, according to the Official Charts Company, with 60,000 albums and 30,000 singles changing hands.

It was the same in the US, where 733,000 vinyl albums were bought in the week ending 26 April, breaking a sales record for the format.

David Bowie's Welcome To The Blackout was among the most in-demand releases.

The three-disc live album, recorded on the star's Isolar II Tour in 1978, was a Record Store Day exclusive. Not only did it top the UK vinyl chart, but entered the official Top 40 at number 22.

It was also the second best-seller in America, just behind a red vinyl edition of Bruce Springsteen's Greatest Hits.

media captionRag'n'Bone Man on his love of vinyl and his new material for Record Store Day

Other popular Record Store Day exclusives included Pink Floyd's The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn and Arcade Fire's debut EP, which was issued on blue vinyl.

Artists including Rag 'N' Bone Man and Florence + The Machine also released new material to mark the occasion.

The annual event, now in its 11th year, aims to tempt lapsed record-buyers back into local, independent stores.

The lure of limited edition releases by some of rock and pop's biggest names leads to fans sleeping outside record shops, in an attempt to be first through the doors.

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Rachel Lowe, of Brighton store Vinyl Revolution, said the event, on 22 April, "was the best day we've had since opening".

"The revenue will help our young shop immensely but the publicity and goodwill will last much longer," she told Music Week.

Jon Tolley of Banquet Records in Kingston added that Record Store Day was "hands down our busiest day of the year" and a "great shot in the arm" for the business.

However, sales of singles dropped year-on-year, as customers shifted towards the album format.

In the US, Nielsen Music revealed that without the albums sold by indie stores in the week of Record Store Day, overall sales would have been down 2.5%. Instead, they were up 17%.

It was also America's biggest week ever for vinyl album sales outside of the Christmas season - and the third-biggest overall - since Nielsen Music began tracking data in 1991.

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