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How Ghost’s ‘Impera’ Became a 2022 Success Story in Rock

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With fifth album IMPERA, the Swedish hard rockers logged the biggest sales week for a hard rock album on vinyl since Pearl Jam’s Vitalogy in 1994. Loma Vista Recordings’ senior director of marketing, Todd Netter, explains how.

The band has long taken vinyl seriously, and their fans have always coveted their music on wax. This is not a band capitalizing on a trend — they’ve developed a large, loyal fan base that likes vinyl. They worked with individual retailers and platforms to reach their fans and vinyl enthusiasts with special versions of their new album. Moreover, they strike the right balance between what they’re offering — special vinyl color, illustrated booklet — and what price they’re offering it for. It was important that we keep their standard vinyl affordable, $25 or less, so that fans across the spectrum of age and income could participate if they wanted to.

People hear about things and purchase music across a wide spectrum of retailers and experiences, so you have to go everywhere to reach everyone. Providing various vinyl colors allows a band to engage this spectrum of retailers in a constructive way that opens up additional marketing opportunities to raise the volume on their new album and hopefully drive sales. For fans, especially Ghost fans, it’s a fun experience. Uncovering all the different offers and elements and collecting everything is one of the rewarding parts of their fandom.


Vinyl is how their albums come to life in the real world. So I’d say vinyl is critical to the DNA of this band’s success. It also allows Ghost to compete against other contemporary artists whose album consumption is more heavily stream-driven. Having married album formats — physical and digital — on street date helped ensure that IMPERA debut at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Current Album Sales chart and No. 2 on the Billboard 200. To ensure married street dates, you’re looking at a lead time now of 10 to 12 months. That’s probably three to four additional months than albums released prior to the supply chain woes.

Our outlook on vinyl for Ghost is a campaign-long commitment. It’s why we’re constantly checking our stock levels and greenlighting represses. A big release week and No. 1 chart position was impressive and validating, but with Ghost, vinyl sales are more than accolades — it’s a core element of their success and something that maintains well beyond street week.

This story originally appeared in the Dec. 10, 2022, issue of Billboard.

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