As public fears around COVID-19 spread and result in panic buying at local grocery stores and markets, more and more people are turning to online sellers like Amazon to fulfill their daily, weekly, and monthly needs. As such, Amazon has “temporarily disabled shipment creation” for discretionary items through at least April 5.” Variety clarifies, that doesn’t have to do with the outflow of product from Amazon, but inflow.
The new policy will not affect items already in Amazon storehouses, but rather the replenishment of non-essential items. This includes physical media including vinyl and CDs.
In a statement to sellers, 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.”
Vinyl and CD sales made up over a billion dollars in sales in 2019 according to a study released by the RIAA. While the mediums won’t make much of a difference for the major streaming artists (Lil Uzi Vert’s album Eternal Atake was streamed 351 million times in the last week but sold just 7,800 albums), smaller distributors and artists might see a bigger hit if the hold stays in place for very long.