Urban Outfitters in “number one vinyl seller” claim

urban outfitters vinyl

The resurgence of vinyl is well documented, both factually and anecdotally. But when hipster heaven Urban Outfitters claim that they sell the most vinyl in the world, you know something is a bit off. Buzzfeed posted a story this week where UO’s chief administrative officer Calvin Hollinger stated this:

“Music is very, very important to the Urban customer… in fact, we are the world’s number one vinyl seller”

That’s all that has been stated, and comes with nothing in the way of numbers to back up the claim. What is even weirder is that in recent times, the UO demographic has shifted significantly from the 24-28 age range to the 14-18 age group, meaning that those who would only know digital as a music delivery system are snapping up vinyl more than ever.

What vinyl does Urban Outfitters stock?

On the website, they have over 1000 LPs  (1021 to be precise, but only 87 in the UK) across a lots of genres and decades as well. Tellingly, there are only six dance LPs in that, but I suspect that number is a casualty of the inability of music outlets to put things in proper genres, as Disclosure ends up in electronica. There’s a fair amount of Rap that is split largely between old school classics and new trendy stuff. As suspected though, almost half falls into the all-encompassing “alternative”, a tag that typifies the ethos of Urban Outfitters’ customer base. But to be clear on this —UO is not a DJ outlet. They will not be spearheading a return to turntables for DJs because they’re just not selling the releases that DJs need, underlined by the fact that they almost exclusively only sell LPs.

I don’t think UO is trying to be any kind of arbiter of music taste. They seem a potential market and cater accordingly. It’s nice that they are able to sell a shedload of vinyl, and across a wide choice of genres too. Offering a small selection to a vinyl-hungry audience may well expose young minds with the necessary deep pockets to a broader selection of music.

So love them or hate them, Urban Outfitters appears to spearheading the increase in vinyl sales, and that’s a good thing. You don’t have to buy from them, but as long as the kids are digging, then the medium has a bright future. Let’s consider UO as a gateway drug to real digging in independent record shops.