Taylor Swift Breaks Jack White’s Vinyl Sales Record
On Friday, Taylor Swift released the vinyl edition of evermore, the second of her two indie-leaning 2020 albums. (The digital and streaming versions came out in December.) Now Billboard reports that the vinyl version of evermore sold more than 40,000 copies in its first two days of sales. That means that, in those two days, Taylor Swift has broken the all-time record for sales of a vinyl record in a single week. Jack White set that record in 2014, when his solo LP Lazaretto sold 40,000 copies in its first week.
There are some caveats here. For one thing, Swift’s evermore sales rely heavily on pre-orders, all of which count towards first-week sales. But also, Billboard has only been using MRC Data, the outfit formerly known as SoundScan, to chart sales since 1991, which is basically the exact moment that vinyl ceased to be a factor in music sales. There is absolutely no way that evermore sold more vinyl copies in its first week than Sgt. Pepper’s or Songs In The Key Of Life or Physical Graffiti or whatever, but that’s the data that we have to work with.
It took months for evermore to come out on vinyl since the album was a surprise release, and since physical editions, vinyl especially, take a long time to manufacture. Still, vinyl has a growing share of the music-buyer marketplace; according to Billboard, 27% of the albums sold in the US in 2020 were on vinyl, and that share has been growing every year for the past 15 years. Still, vinyl remains a boutiquey luxury item. This new record would suggest that Taylor Swift has replaced Jack White as the favorite artist of the type of people who still buy vinyl, which sounds about right.