Amid the coronavirus epidemic, Amazon is struggling to keep in stock essential items like hand sanitizer, face masks, toilet paper, and medical supplies. To make room on its shelves, the online retail giant will temporarily cease stocking discretionary items, including vinyl records.
Amazon will continue to sell whatever vinyl records are already in stock at their warehouses. However, once those quantities are sold out, music fans are out of luck.
“We are seeing increased online shopping, and as a result some products such as household staples and medical supplies are out of stock,” Amazon said in a statement to third-party sellers this week (via Variety). “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. … We understand this is a change for our selling partners and appreciate their understanding as we temporarily prioritize these products for customers.”
Vinyl sales were up by 19% in 2019, accounting for a total of in $504 million in sales, the highest such number since 1988. Amazon is the largest seller of vinyl in the U.S. with a quarter of the overall marketshare.
The coronavirus already cost vinyl retailers its best sales day of the year, Record Store Day, which was postponed from the spring to the fall. As it could be several months until the virus subsides and Amazon can return to normal operations, it’s just another massive hit for the industry, and it’s not going to get better anytime soon. In the meantime, you can support your favorite artists by purchasing vinyl and merch directly through their individual websites.