Last week, Urban Outfitters’ Calvin Hollinger issued a statement claiming to be the “world’s number one vinyl seller”—a statement that many bought from Urban Outfitters and took home, only to have it immediately fall apart. Most of us just took Urban’s word for it because it sounded so plausible: With its more than 400 locations, each with dedicated walls of vinyl, plus the thousands of titles that flow through its online shop, Urban Outfitters would seem to have little competition in that arena, easily besting the few vinyl racks reflecting the sad, lonely faces of Best Buy employees. But as is so often the case, we all overlooked the little guy. We forgot about Amazon.
While we were content with our Urban Outfitters-supplied information, no matter how ill-fitting, Billboard actually sought out authentically vintage “facts” by surveying various U.S. labels, distributors, and wholesalers. Its conclusion: While Urban Outfitters is responsible for about 8.1 percent of the vinyl retail market, it’s still second to Amazon, which carries 12.3 percent.
Of course, Urban may still have a claim to being the biggest physical retailer, and both are well ahead of the rest of the top five: Hastings Entertainment (2.8 percent), Hot Topic (2.4 percent, and 100 percent of the worst vinyl titles), Trans World Entertainment (2.2 percent). But only Amazon can be called the “world’s number one vinyl seller.” All told, it’s a victory for the indie, multibillion-dollar corporations that Amazon’s employees are celebrating by putting on an Oblivians record, then sneering at the girl asking, “Who’s this?” that she might feel more comfortable back at Urban Outfitters.
Anyway, upon learning that Urban Outfitters had appropriated someone else’s claim to being cool, everyone agreed that sounded about right.