(Jan 4/10 – Jan 2/11)
1. Abbey Road, The Beatles (35,000)
2. Suburbs, Arcade Fire (18,800)
3. Black Keys, Brothers (18,400)
4. Contra, Vampire Weekend (15,000)
5. Thriller, Michael Jackson (14,200)
6. High Violet, National (13,600)
7. Teen Dream, Beach House (13,000)
8. Valleys of Nepture, Jimi Hendrix Experience (11,400)
9. Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd (10,600)
10. XX, The XX (10,200)
10. XX, The XX (10,200).
These numbers represent United States sales only. Let's assume, for the purpose of this post you are releasing a vinyl album of an artist who has an audience large enough to support 10k vinyl sales in the US alone. From the chart above, you can see that most likely you are talking about a "catalog" artist: The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Jimi Hendrix Experience or Pink Floyd. Alternatively, you could be discussing a band with a current release: Arcade Fire, Vampire Weekend, National, Beach House & the XX.
I think it's interesting to note that the bottom six entries are all grouped with five thousand of one another: Unless you are the Beatles, there doesn't appear to be any way to sell more then 20 thousand LPs in the United States, so I would suggest that is the absolute limit for vinyl sales in the United States for any act.
I would also suggest, based on this chart, the following sales goals for an American independent record label: 1000, 2000, 4000, 6000, 8000, 10000. The actual reality of vinyl record production is that batch production is cabined by the role of "stampers" and the inexorable fact that they must be replaced for every 500-1000 records pressed. Thus, you don't save that much money OR time for every 500-1000 records pressed: When the stamper wears out, it needs to be replaced no matter who is making the record.