Urban Outfitters Claims To Be World's Top Vinyl Record Store

Urban Outfitters says it is selling more vinyl records than anyone else in the world but why?
Posted at 4:05 PM, Sep 25, 2014

Vinyl records have seen a huge resurgence in recent years, and it might surprise you to learn which retailer is making the most from it. 

BuzzFeed reports that the sometimes controversial clothing store chain Urban Outfitters claims to be the top retailer for vinyl. It quotes a spokesperson, who says, "Music is very, very important to the Urban customer… in fact, we are the world’s number one vinyl seller."

Vinyl record sales have been a happy surprise for the music industry recently. According to Statista, sales were just under 1 million in 2007, and last year, they exceeded 6 million. 

Target and Whole Foods also started stocking small amounts of vinyl last year, though they haven't seen near the success Urban Outfitters has. 

So why is vinyl booming at Urban Outfitters? Its key demographic grew up streaming music and is a far cry from the baby boomers who experienced vinyl in its heyday.

Well, Forbes writes, "Many who buy a vinyl album today likely also have quite a few collections in their iTunes library, but they are looking for the experience of buying, owning, and playing a record, something no digital file can replicate."

And Time writes music stays in style longer than current fashion trends. Plus, "It doesn’t take up a whole lot of space in a store to hold a few hundred records, and the same customers who enjoy flipping through the albums are likely to be put in the mood for browsing other merchandise."

Urban Outfitters also takes a pretty low-risk strategy to stocking the items as well. It essentially "rents" out shelf space to over 100 different record vendors as opposed to taking on the cost of the inventory themselves. 

A blogger for Village Voice says the clothing store's selection is actually pretty good and reasonably priced as well.

But not everyone buys that the resurgence in record shopping is about the music. A writer for Death and Taxes says "Vinyl is now primarily purchased as a fashion accessory, purchased not for the music it contains, but for the lifestyle it conveys."

Last year, 6.1 million LPs were sold in the U.S., making it the best year for vinyl since 1991. 

This video contains images from Getty Images.