The Vinyl Alliance Issues a Covid-19 Advisory

The Vinyl Alliance Just Issued This Press Release:

The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is severe and hits the vinyl industry hard with a decreasing demand, closed stores, limited production, and transport bans. However, a quick survey amongst Vinyl Alliance members shows the commitment and resilience of the industry.

Broken supply chain and closed stores

Many businesses are suffering right now, the vinyl record industry is no different. Even though many brick and mortar stores divert to online sales, sales are expected to drop heavily. Especially since Amazon, one of the biggest vinyl record dealers has temporarily moved its focus away from non-essential products.

While the impact on retail is strong, most pressing plants are still up and running. “We work at 75% capacity, mainly because of backlog orders,” says Michal Sterba, CEO of GZ Media “but new orders are down by 50%”. The situation is similar to MPO in France and is most likely the same for pressing plants worldwide. Labels are still committed to vinyl and postpone new releases rather than cancel them.

The biggest issue is the broken supply chain. Lockdown of air travel and reduced transport capacities led to a sharp increase in shipping rates. Transport between pressing plants, dealers and end customers has simply become too expensive, even if there is demand as Robert Morgan-Males, CEO of Audio-Technica Europe explains “We have an increased demand for certain products, such as headphones. But delivery is either too expensive or not possible at all.”

Loyal fans support artists and stores

The Vinyl business has one big advantage: it is blessed with loyal fans, otherwise, the format could not have survived first the rise of the CD and then of music streaming. The current crisis proves this once more. Collectors use their time at home to re-organise records, discover hidden gems or simply to give their disks a thorough cleaning. Others dig up old record players in their attic and refurbish them.

Christen Nielsen, CEO from Ortofon explains the unfaltering support “Vinyl is a great way for people to help their favourite artist, especially if they had to cancel a concert or tour. And even if they cannot afford to buy new records, they find other ways. For example, there are online challenges such as presenting your most beloved record and the store you bought it in. A great way to show the artist and the store some love and give them free publicity.”

richiep's picture

Since most RSD vinyl is pressed waiting for the lock down to be opened up and the new date to arrive? Why not supply the Record stores with the product the've ordered and allow them to sell locally, maybe drive up or ship to their regular customers or other buyers on line that will keep them in business. Why let it sit in a distribution center. There are people that need some enjoyment at home with some new listening material now when it's needed most, after, we all will be out and about. Let's See Action!

ronrubin's picture

My favorite record store is really having a hard time. They suggested purchasing gift certificates. This gives them some cash flow to pay the bills. Reach out to your local store to see if that would benefit them.

pessoist's picture

you're not allowed to listen to vinyl at home any more?
what's better than listening loud to vinyl for social distancing?

I buy records, more records...

What are you doing?


Bob Ward's picture

What business does Amazon have classifying new vinyl as a "non-essential" item?

OldschoolE's picture

ha ha!

OldschoolE's picture

New records are about to become extremely expensive. I'm ok as I do not buy new records. The music I listen to has hardly had any reissues anyway and I prefer original pressings (the quality is usually way better even if used or the suspected conspiracy theory of using melted bic pens). To me records are historical documents anyway (that is why I bothered to study cleaning and preservation for two years so I could do it right)

Will this effect the used record market? Honestly, I'm not sure it will. That market ebbs and flows so much, that it is hard to catch. A record can be market valued at $60 one day and $12 or $7 the next and back up to $50 the next. With new records at least you know where you stand I guess as the price only moves one direction, up.
As for shipping cost, it really depends. If one orders say a phono cart in stock from a reputable seller, the shipping will likely be what it always has been. Ordering something not in stock or hard to get, that may present a challenge in shipping cost. Example would be a pair of the latest Elac speakers or Revel, etc. I just spoke with a big famous make I happen to be friends with about it and they told me that they are experiencing some challenges, but not quite as bad as most think. It is mostly effecting lead times and service of course.

The covid-19 virus can live on plastic surfaces for up to 9 days, so clean those records properly and wash those hands!!!

What am I doing? restoring records, listening to records of course, some for the first time and working on my database adding further notes, etc.

mtglass's picture

My local store in Richmond, VA (Plan 9) is doing curbside pickup, you can call or buy online. I talked to Bob the manager last weekend and he said sales were pretty good considering. If you feel safe and your store offers such a service please support them all you can. Stay safe!

Viva Hifi's picture

My favorite local record store, Sidetracks Music, in Charlottesville, Virginia is filling orders by phone and letting you pick them up outside the store. Maybe your local stores are doing this, too. Give your favorite store a call with an order.