If you look at the most-collected releases on Discogs, you’ll find some familiar LPs that are probably in your collection: classic rock staples such as Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, Eagles’ Hotel California, and Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon; ’80s blockbusters such as Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the U.S.A., Prince’s Purple Rain, and Michael Jackson’s Thriller; and fan-favorite cult LPs such as David Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.
This list makes a lot of sense from a commercial perspective — Thriller remains the best-selling album of all time, and both The Dark Side of the Moon and Rumours are within the top 10 in sales — as well as on the pop culture front. For example, Fleetwood Mac has become massively popular with younger generations, thanks in no small part to the 2020 virality of “Dreams” and the charisma of Stevie Nicks. Both Prince and Bowie, meanwhile, have become even more beloved figures in the half-decade since their deaths.
Interestingly enough, however, the most-collected albums list also includes a trio of LPs released within the last decade: Daft Punk’s fourth studio full-length, 2013’s Random Access Memories; Kendrick Lamar’s sophomore effort and major-label debut, 2012’s Good Kid, M.A.A.d City; and Jack White’s 2014 solo album Lazaretto.
All three albums certainly benefited from good timing, mainly the start of the vinyl resurgence and a renaissance of collecting culture. According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), between 2012 and 2015, vinyl sales rose from 6.9 million to 13.7 million units. However, these three LPs, while certainly critically and commercially acclaimed, aren’t necessarily the signature releases from these artists. For example, White’s first album, Blunderbuss, is his only gold-certified solo effort, while Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly made the top 20 of Rolling Stone‘s 2020 version of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
Random Access Memories, which was released on May 17, 2013, is the exception. Daft Punk’s best-selling album, the LP was a Discogs success from the start: It was the most collected LP of 2013, besting Boards of Canada’s Tomorrow’s Harvest by nearly 500 copies, and remains wildly popular. By now, Random Access Memories is in more than 44,000 Discogs Collections, more than twice as many as any other Daft Punk album.
Call this dominance a combination of sales, awards, and cred. For starters, the album has widespread appeal because it features both legends (Giorgio Moroder, Nile Rodgers, Nathan East) and modern icons (Panda Bear, Julian Casablancas, Pharrell Williams). The LP also won three Grammys (Album of the Year, Best Dance/Electronica Album, and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical), while the quadruple-platinum single “Get Lucky” also won two Grammys (Record of the Year, Best Pop Duo/Group Performance). And with its warm dancefloor grooves and influences from 1970s disco and funk, Random Access Memories sounds tailor-made for vinyl — a retro-sounding platter with modern cool.
Kendrick Lamar, on the other hand, had a slower and steadier ascent to collection dominance. In November 2012, the month after Good Kid, M.A.A.d City‘s release, he was added to 135 Collections on Discogs. Through September 2015, he only cracked 1,000 adds in a month once. However, in October of that year — months after the release of To Pimp a Butterfly — his Collection adds lept from 763 to 1,351, and has only increased since. His five Grammys and incredible performance at the ceremony pushed him to 2,576 adds in March 2016; in January 2017, months before the release of Damn, his adds soared to 5,382.
Another major jump occurred in December 2020, when he nearly cracked the 10,000-add threshold. That leap is purely due to Good Kid, M.A.A.d City, which sold 117,000 copies last year, making it the best-selling rap vinyl album of 2020 and tenth in the overall, all-genre vinyl sales list. In fact, the album re-entered the top 10 of Billboard’s Top Album Sales chart in early 2021 and reached No. 1 on the magazine’s Vinyl Albums chart on March 6, 2021 — nearly a decade after its release. Chalk it up to availability — “Good Kid has sold particularly well in recent weeks on vinyl at independent record stores, as well as Target and Walmart, thanks to sale pricing and holiday promotions,” Billboard noted in early 2021 — and financial smarts. The original LP’s median Discogs sale price is $19.98, nearly $5 cheaper than the median price of the 2019 reissue ($24.87).
And then there’s Jack White’s Lazaretto. The LP’s June 10, 2014, release precipitated a spike in his Collection adds to 8,371 that month, up nearly 2000 adds from the May 2014 statistic (6541). It was also the most-collected release of 2014 — in 4,217 collections, nearly 1,400 more than Aphex Twin’s Syro. Today, Lazaretto is in 29,683 Discogs user collections, behind only The White Stripes’ Elephant in White’s catalog.
That stat is telling: Because he’s long embraced vinyl formats, he has been a major driver of the vinyl renaissance. In fact, his 25 most-collected releases are all in more than 10,000 Collections. It’s perhaps unsurprising, then, that the most-collected version of Lazaretto is also the first pressing that’s a particularly special release: It has hidden tracks, locked grooves, a song with two different intros (“Just One Drink”), and a “hand-etched hologram by Tristan Duke of Infinity Light Science, the first of its kind on a vinyl record.” Lazaretto has unique extras that make it a collector’s dream. For a true original like White, nothing less will suffice.