Amazon announced yesterday that they were suspending new orders for items like medical supplies and essential household goods to match the demand for buyers online amid the coronavirus pandemic. When people started to dig a little further, it was revealed that this meant music wholesale orders of CDs, vinyl, and music merch would be paused as well.
The postponement of all music orders will continue until April 3 at the earliest. Existing items in warehouses will be shipped, just new orders to record labels and distributors will be suspended.
In a statement to sellers via Pitchfork, 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. For products other than these, we have temporarily disabled shipment creation.”
This may seem bad on the surface for the music business since Amazon is such a massive retailer, however there is a silver lining. This will force musicians and music companies to sell via smaller and independent retailers. Record shops need business, especially online business, to stay alive. Take this time to support sales from the independent record store near you, or platforms like Bleep or Bandcamp. This is a chance to shift away from the monopolies.
Bandcamp is waiving their revenue share fee on sales this Friday, March 20, so that would be a good place to start.
UPDATE: Proper Music Group, the UK’s largest independent physical music distributor, says that they "today received more new orders from Amazon than they would expect on a regular Thursday due to growing demand." According to them, “high demand items” includes a wide selection of physical music. This is the situation in the UK, but they don't know for the rest of the world.