Vinyl Alliance Assesses Coronavirus Crisis: ‘The Biggest Issue is the Broken Supply Chain’

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The Vinyl Alliance, the recently-created vinyl records trade organization, has assessed the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis on their industry, both immediately and over the long term.

After surveying members on the vinyl industry’s outlook amid the coronavirus pandemic, Vinyl Alliance determined that “The biggest issue [in the vinyl industry] is the broken supply chain.” Air travel restrictions, which have been implemented in countries around the world, are causing shipping delays and pricing increases, the Vinyl Alliance noted. Furthermore, uncertainty pertaining to delivering products — and receiving materials — has also complicated matters for industry companies.

Similarly, the Vinyl Alliance’s analysis highlighted the negative impact of lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, and nonessential business closures on brick-and-mortar record stores (including those that also sell their products over the internet). Additionally, several vinyl manufacturers indicated that the decrease in overall demand has resulted in fewer new orders — a potentially significant point moving forward. (Most of the surveyed vinyl-pressing companies are still fulfilling pre-coronavirus orders, however.)

Finally, Vinyl Alliance reiterated that the continued support of passionate fans will help vinyl through this immensely difficult period. Rather than turning away from records, diehards are reportedly taking the time to organize their collections, connect with fellow fans on social media, and otherwise emphasize their interest in and affection for records.

Vinyl has had an admittedly difficult couple months.

Even before the novel coronavirus inflicted extensive fiscal damage on the economy and the music industry, Banning, California, vinyl production facility Apollo Masters burned down. The tragic episode affected the local community, employees, and the industry as a whole; Apollo Masters was one of two companies (the other is located in Japan) known to craft lacquer discs, from which vinyl masters are pressed.

Just a few weeks later, Record Store Day organizers postponed their 2020 event until June because of coronavirus concerns, and Amazon has temporarily stopped mass-ordering CDs and vinyl records to prioritize other shipments.

According to a recently published study, vinyl sales fell 44 percent last week, adding to the prior seven days’ decline.