A lot of Harry Styles’ fans are eager to see him slip into something more comfortable… like an LP jacket. The vinyl version of his third solo album, “Harry’s House,” is a runaway phenomenon in the format, selling 294,000 copies in less than two months of release to easily top the list of 2022 LP bestsellers so far.
In fact, the Styles album is about 130,000 copies out in front of the nearest contender for the top spot, Olivia Rodrigo’s “Sour,” a 2021 release that is hardly receding into the distance in any medium. “Sour” has sold another 165,000 copies on vinyl and is facing little immediate competition for the No. 2 spot.
Luminate collected the data on this year’s 50 top vinyl sellers so far for a midyear chart for Variety. (The period surveyed extends just a little past midyear, into mid-July.) The titles that factor in suggest that the vinyl resurgence is not tipping toward any one market or genre, but is strongly impacting multiple demographics.
Once you get past those two pop superstars at the top — and multiple entries by Taylor Swift and Billie Eilish further down — you’ll find that the most acclaimed hip-hop titans are well-represented too, along with plenty of the classic rock catalog titles you’d expect to flourish on vinyl, and even a handful of cult acts whose impact in the format seems to be outsized.
Here’s a list of the top 50, with some further numbers-crunching to follow after:
|Rank||Title||Artist||Physical LP Albums Sales – TP|
|1||Harry’s House||Harry Styles||294,000|
|3||Good Kid M.A.A.D City||Kendrick Lamar||129,000|
|5||Call Me If You Get Lost||Tyler, the Creator||98,000|
|9||Awaken My Love||Childish Gambino||79,000|
|11||Red (Taylor’s Version)||Taylor Swift||78,000|
|12||Unlimited Love||Red Hot Chili Peppers||78,000|
|13||Happier Than Ever||Billie Eilish||77,000|
|14||Fine Line||Harry Styles||75,000|
|15||Dark Side of the Moon||Pink Floyd||73,000|
|16||College Drop Out||Kanye West||73,000|
|17||Igor||Tyler, The Creator||72,000|
|20||When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?||Billie Eilish||63,000|
|22||Dawn FM||The Weeknd||54,000|
|24||Born To Die||Lana Del Rey||53,000|
|26||Back to Black||Amy Winehouse||52,000|
|27||Fear of the Dawn||Jack White||52,000|
|29||Because the Internet||Childish Gambino||50,000|
|32||To Pimp a Butterfly||Kendrick Lamar||48,000|
|33||Greatest Hits||Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers||48,000|
|35||Vol. 1-Chronicle-20 Greatest Hits||Creedence Clearwater Revival||44,000|
|37||Let It Be||Beatles||43,000|
|39||Don’t Smile at Me||Billie Eilish||43,000|
|41||Encanto||Lin-Manuel Miranda, Encanto – Cast||41,000|
|42||Led Zeppelin 4||Led Zeppelin||40,000|
|43||What’s Going On||Marvin Gaye||40,000|
|44||Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol 1||Soundtrack-Guardians of the Galaxy||40,000|
|45||Fearless (Taylor’s Version)||Taylor Swift||40,000|
|49||Vol. 2 Guardians of the Galaxy||Various Artists||36,000|
|50||Who Cares?||Rex Orange County||36,000|
As artists with multiple titles in the top 50 go, Swift continues to be the queen of the format, even without a new album out yet in 2023, claiming four spots. “Folklore” and “Red (Taylor’s Version),” the latter of which is a pricier four-LP set, are nearly tied at Nos. 10-11, with “Evermore” at No. 25 and “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” at No. 45.
Lamar is close behind with three albums on the chart, however — and none of them is his brand-new release, which hasn’t been issued on vinyl yet. Eilish also claims three spots in the top 50, representing all three releases she’s put out to date. There are four more artists with two titles apiece in the top 50: Styles, the Beatles, Childish Gambino and Tyler, the Creator.
The 98,000 in LP sales racked up for Tyler, the Creator’s “Call Me if You Get Lost” is impressive in that it’s a belated vinyl issue of an album that came out digitally in 2021, then came out solely through his webstore before becoming available through mass retailers just last month.
If you’re interested in delineating whether the vinyl format favors brand new catalog, recent catalog or deep catalog, the chart seems to indicate a mixture of all three. Eleven of the top 50 are 2022 releases, with a few out-of-nowhere surprises slipping in among the bottom rungs. “Harry’s House” at No. 1 is followed by Tyler’s “Call Me if You Get Lost” at No. 5 (as mentioned, a 2022 release on vinyl even if it came out digitally last year), the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Unlimited Love” at No. 12, the Weeknd’s “Dawn FM” at No. 22, Jack White’s “Fear of the Dawn” at No. 27, Mitski’s “Laurel Hell” at No. 30, Ghost’s “Impera” at No. 31, the Lumineers’ “Brightside” at No. 38, the “Encanto” soundtrack at No. 41 (again, a 2021 digital release that came out on vinyl this year) and Rex Orange County’s “Who Cares?” slipping in under the wire at No. 50.
Certainly the appearance of albums on the list by the likes of Ghost and Rex Orange County has to be counted as a surprise. But then, so does the resurgence of a catalog title like Madvillain’s “Madvillainy” at No. 48. It’s a 2004 alternative hip-hop cult favorite that continues to be sought out each time it gets repressed — and this latest pressing looks to be close to sold out, judging from the “out of stock” signs currently put up for this LP by most web retailers after 38,000 sales this year.
But if you wanted to argue that vinyl is a format in which many buyers are purchasing their old favorites in the resurgent physical medium of choice, you’d find plenty of evidence for that, as well, with classics by the Beatles, Bob Marley, Pink Floyd, Tom Petty, Michael Jackson, Queen, Marvin Gaye, ABBA and Creedence Clearwater Revival creeping in there. Sometimes one chain offering an exclusive variant can make a difference, as Wal-Mart’s highly sought version of “Queen’s Greatest Hits” did.
But as the three Lamar titles in the top 50 shows, “recent” catalog is also a big factor in vinyl, especially in hip-hop or indie-rock, the latter of which is represented by surprisingly strong showings for oldies but goodies like Arctic Monkey’s “AM” and Tame Impala’s “Currents.”
The general midyear report released by Luminate last year had some other stats about what’s happening with vinyl beyond individual titles. One demographic point of differentiation the data company noted was that women buyers of vinyl skew somewhat younger than male buyers; 34% of female vinyl purchasers are Gen Z, a higher percentage than for men, perhaps reflecting a particularly accentuated interest in their part in today’s strong female superstars like Swift, Eilish and Adele.
One stat that was reported as part of the general survey from Luminate last week was that vinyl sales were almost flat for the year through the end of June, compared with the same six-month period in 2021 — registering a very slight 1% increase. However, an additional point of interest is that sales for current albums on vinyl are up 27.4% through the end of June, offsetting an 8.4% decrease in catalog albums.
Whether the increase in current product and decrease in catalog sales has to do with supply or demand is difficult to suss, but it could be due at least partly to stores running out of stock of their perennial titles as current releases stand in line and jockey for space at the nation’s vastly overburdened pressing plants.
What’s clear is that, since vinyl finally surpassed the CD format last year, there won’t likely be any reversal in that equation. While vinyl had its 1% uptick in volume through midyear, CD sales were down 10.7% from the already dismal year before.
As Jack White said in his recent interview with Variety: “It’ll be streaming and vinyl, streaming and vinyl” — and that’s it, as formats of choice go — “probably for at least the next 10 years.”