Last week, Ariana Grande’s latest album bolted up a number of Billboard charts following its release on vinyl months after the set arrived on CD and on platforms like iTunes and Spotify. The title was a bestseller, even on wax, and it made history by racking up an eye-popping sales sum on the format in just its first full week of availability.
Grande’s Positions reset the record for the largest one-week sales count for an album by a female musician, and its opening performance stands as one of the most impressive in history.
The pop star’s showing is just the latest in a string of huge wins on vinyl among some of the most popular artists in the music industry, and three acts in particular have already made 2021 one of the biggest years yet for the format, even though it’s not even halfway through yet!
According to Billboard, three of the five largest sales weeks of vinyl since that company and other organizations like Nielsen began properly tracking those purchases have occurred in 2021.
The top two largest sales weeks since vinyl purchases have been tracked belong to Jack White’s Lazaretto, which moved 40,000 LPs in 2014 and Pearl Jam’s Vitalogy, which sold just under 34,000 copies back in 1994. Just below those power titles, the next three sets have all debuted in 2021.
Grande’s Positions lands in third place with just over 32,000 sales on vinyl, which is impressive for a young pop star, as the format has typically been thought of as something older audiences gravitate toward. That sum is enough to grant her the third-largest sales frame yet.
The “34+35” singer replaces Paul McCartney in third place on the ranking of the largest vinyl sales weeks, as the former Beatles’ McCartney III recently grabbed that No. 3 spot. The rocker’s latest set opened with just under 32,000 sales on wax when it first arrived in January of this year.
Lana Del Rey rounds out the top five largest vinyl sales weeks since tracking began, and she also scored her massive win just a short time ago. The alt-pop star’s Chemtrails Over the Country Club also launched with just under 32,000 copies sold earlier this month.
While Grande’s Positions, McCartney’s McCartney III and Del Rey’s Chemtrails Over the Country Club are all close to one another in terms of number of copies sold, Billboard has labeled them separate from one another and claimed no ties, so the numbers must be different enough (when not rounded to the nearest thousand) to make the ranking concrete.
2021 is still just warming up, and there’s no telling what albums may arrive later this year that could become vinyl must-haves. This list, which has changed several times already in just the past few months, may soon be altered again, as vinyl is back in a major, major way.