Urban Outfitters Lied About Being the World's Biggest Vinyl Dealer

Urban Outfitters — no longer content with appropriating tragedy, Native American culture or independent artists’ work — has moved on to appropriate another corporation’s rightful place as the world’s leading retailer of vinyl. Is lying to Wall Street analysts supposed to be ironic?

Last week, it was reported that Urban Outfitters chief administrative officer Calvin Hollinger had told analysts that “music is very, very important to the Urban customer… in fact, we are the world’s number one vinyl seller.”

Billboard decided to research Hollinger’s claim by surveying music labels, distributors, and wholesalers and found that it was entirely untrue:

A Billboard analysis shows that Amazon is the largest seller of vinyl in the U.S., with about 12.3% market share, followed by Urban Outfitters with 8.1% market share. Rounding out the top five retail accounts selling vinyl, the next-largest is Hastings Entertainment with 2.8% of the market; Hot Topic with 2.4%; and Trans World Entertainment with 2.2%. Accounts like Audiophile, Acoustic Sounds and Newbury Comics each have market shares between 1.5% and 2%.
While Billboard’s survey covered the U.S. market, label sales and distribution executives point out that Amazon has a much larger music presence internationally than does Urban Outfitters, which has about 50 stores outside the U.S. compared to the 300 or so they have in this country.

The other largest vinyl account is wholesaler Alliance Entertainment, a company that sells records to retailers such as Barnes & Noble and Best Buy.

So there you have it. The world’s largest vinyl retailer is not one multi-billion dollar corporation, but a different multi-billion dollar corporation. Punk is still dead.

Image via Shutterstock.

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