Amazon stops stocking physical music in midst of coronavirus outbreak

Posted by on March 19, 2020


People stuck at home ordering their vinyl and CDs online may have to wait a little longer to get their music. 

On Wednesday (18), Amazon announced that they will stop taking in non-essential items to their warehouses to free up space for high-priority commodities like paper goods, hand sanitizer and medicine. The decree means that they will no longer be accepting physical music items like CDs and vinyl records to their facilities, turning stock away at the label level.

Said Amazon in a statement to third party sellers (reported by Variety):

“We are seeing increased online shopping, and as a result some products such as household staples and medical supplies are out of stock. With this in mind, we are temporarily prioritizing household staples, medical supplies, and other high-demand products coming into our fulfillment centers so that we can more quickly receive, restock, and deliver these products to customers. For products other than these, we have temporarily disabled shipment creation.”

That doesn’t mean that no music will be leaving Amazon’s facilities, just that no new supply will be taken in. If the item is already in stock at their warehouse, it will go out as planned.

This is just the latest blow physical music releases have taken in the last few months. Back in February, a fire at a lacquer production company in Banning, CA, one of only two companies that produces the material for master recordings, setting off fears that there wouldn’t be enough to keep up with production. That’s on top of the consolidation of distribution companies labels use to produce their physical releases. The use of Direct Shot by all of the major labels and some of the indie labels has created a back-log of orders keeping record shops from receiving their new release orders.

Now with coronavirus looming over everyone’s heads, brick and mortar businesses are suffering even further. Record Store Day, one of the biggest sales days of the year for physical music, has been postponed until June 20. Advisements from the CDC and local governments for citizens to “social distance” and stay at home have caused a drop in business and in many cases shut down all together.

Rock music could be hit the hardest by this lack of physical format. In year-end reports from both Nielsen Music and BuzzAngle, rock made up the biggest percentage of physical music sales last year.

There is no word on when Amazon might start restocking their physical music selection.

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