The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is having an unprecedented effect on the music industry. Over the past week, countless artists and touring agencies have had to cancel tours across the globe due to the virus’ rapid spread, leaving thousands of musicians, tour managers, engineers and venue workers out of jobs. And now, Amazon — America’s largest seller of vinyl records — has announced that it will not be accepting new shipments of CDs and vinyl during the coronavirus pandemic, in order to make room in its warehouses for essential goods. Per Variety, the retail behemoth has “temporarily disabled shipment creation” for discretionary items — which includes vinyl and CDs — until at least April 5, but potentially longer. Products that are currently in-stock will remain purchasable, but will not be reordered until the pandemic is over.
In a statement to third-party vendors, Amazon wrote: “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.”
While vinyl and CDs only make up a small portion of income for the majority of artists, this news will undoubtedly have an impact on an already struggling industry. Record Store Day, another significant day for physical releases, recently announced it was postponing this year’s event from April to June; with President Trump stating that coronavirus pandemic measures could be in place til July or August, that might need to be rescheduled again.