And the Record Store Capital of the World Is…Really?

If you had to bet on which city features the most record stores, where you place your money? London? LA? Gotta be New York, right? Sorry. You lose.

Discogs and Vinylhub did some sorting through a trove of data from record stores around the planet and they discovered something unexpected: the city with the most retail outlets is…Tokyo.

While the US has the most record stores (1,482, compared to 537 in the UK and 487 in Germany), no American city is more to more than New York (47). Chicago placed second (30) with LA a close third (29).

Compare that to the 93 record stores found in Tokyo, the most of any city in the world. Next comes another surprise: Berlin with 87. Third place goes to London with 79 stores. Then we have Paris with 66. Toronto has 49 stores, good for fifth spot on the planet. 

Looking a little deeper at Canada, there are 273 record stores (fifth most in the world, behind the US, the UK, Germany and France), giving us a record store density of 0.7734 stores per 100,000 inhabitants.

Fun stat: Of the 87 stores in Berlin, 46 are found within a square kilometre of each other. Toronto also has one of the ten most-dense record shopping areas in the world with 23 shops within a square kilometre.

Another fun stat: There are three stores in the nation of Palau. With a population of 21,186, that means there’s one record store for every 7,062 residents.

The full report can be found here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

2 thoughts on “And the Record Store Capital of the World Is…Really?

  • November 14, 2017 at 2:03 am

    Hi Alan,

    I am not quite sure if this is your e-mail or not but I have been dying to asking you this question for quite a while. I have kind of this question about music that I have asked most people I know – and have received some really interesting answers. I am sort of more interested in the Malcolm Gladwell-esque type of well thought out, deeply mediated on response but glad to take whatever response you can throw out (personally I think it would make a great topic for one your history of New Music episodes… but heck.. here goes…)

    Where did all of the good music go?

    By this I mean what the heck happened? There used to be bands that issued CD’s that had themes for the album, each decade from 70s,80s and 90s had its own big and new genres that changed things .
    Is it….lack of money from CD’s for production? Lack of money form the music industry? Have we quite possibly deconstructed things to far where there was no new genres to create or move towards? Do people no longer care about music as much as previous generations?
    It seems like there is a small smattering of decent well put together music that I actually wanted to download, but no albums I wanted to rush out and buy…Where is the new Clash, Rush Depeche Mode or STP superband who will define a generation?

    And how did this decline start? Was it illegal file sharing? Was it fans eager to gain files through illegitimate ways that started it?

    What is your opinion? I have been listening to your show for over twenty years in the car or at my home on Sundays? Am really interested to hear what you have to say….

    A longtime fan


    • November 14, 2017 at 9:10 am

      This is a tricky, tricky question. Let me give it some thought–I want to articulate this carefully–and I’ll respond with a full blog post. Watch this space!


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