Amazon Is Lifting Its Freeze on Non-Essential Items — Including Vinyl

After hiring approximately 175,000 new workers to handle orders being placed by self-quarantining customers, Amazon has announced that it will continue fulfilling nonessential item purchases this week.

About one month ago, Digital Music News was the first to report that Amazon had suspended warehouse shipments and the distribution of nonessential goods, including vinyl and CDs, to focus on providing key household items and food to customers. Now, having bolstered its team with 175,000 new hires, the massive online retailer is set to resume ordering and selling nonessential products on behalf of third-party merchants.

Nevertheless, Amazon will still limit the total volume of third-party products in its warehouses for the time being, to assure that pertinent items arrive on customers’ doorsteps as quickly as possible. Presumably, Amazon’s renewed fulfillment services will apply to vinyl, music collectibles, equipment, and instruments, but the company hasn’t publicly disclosed the policy’s details.

While an array of other companies—internet-based and physical—are struggling to stay afloat amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Amazon has managed to expand its customer base and reach. Facing widespread lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, not to mention nonessential-business closures, a substantial number of shoppers are doing the bulk of their buying over the internet.

Tellingly, though the economy is struggling and the stock market has parted with a great deal of its value, Amazon’s stock, traded under the symbol AMZN, reached an all-time-high value this week. At the time of this writing, the company’s per-share price was hovering around $2,310—a stunning figure, given that the same stock was worth about $1,700 per share one month ago.

Besides grappling with the immediate threat of transmission presented by the novel coronavirus, brick-and-mortar businesses, including Wal-Mart and Costco, are being asked by many state governments to cease selling non-essential goods. Some angry shoppers are speaking out against the requirement.

As for vinyl lovers, the announcement means that quarantining just got a little easier. Record Store Day was shut down, and virtually every physical record-selling store is closed due to coronavirus lockdowns. Already, companies like Qrates have been making moves to circumvent the shutdowns of both retail and Amazon non-essential deliveries, though thankfully, the freeze on warm vinyl is now being lifted.