Are we headed for a shortage of vinyl records? It looks like it.

With no sign of vinyl sales slowing–in fact, they’re picking up–we’re running into supply and production issues. The result could be long delays for releases and inevitably higher prices.

Just as the vinyl industry found a way to recover from the Apollo Transco fire in February 2020 which destroyed one of only two lacquer master factories in the world (not to mention all the COVID protocols that have slowed things down in pressing plants) comes news that demand for new records is outstripping capacity.

According to Hypebot, the global capacity for manufacturing vinyl is at around 160 million units a year. However, estimates are that could reach 320 million or even 400 million very, very soon. If those orders can’t be filled, that could mean leaving over a billion dollars on the table.

Eighteen months ago, an act or a label could expect to have their vinyl order fulfilled in two or three months. But now the average order has jumped from 3,700 copies to 7,000, the wait can stretch to a full year–or even longer.

What’s the reason for this? Public demand, obviously. And we have to look at retailers like Walmart and Target, which have really jumped on the vinyl bandwagon.

Naturally, the laws of supply and demand dictate that when something like this happens, prices go up. The average price of an album in the US had held steady at $21.71 for about ten years. The current average price is $27.11.

Yay, huh?

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

2 thoughts on “Are we headed for a shortage of vinyl records? It looks like it.

  • June 19, 2021 at 2:21 pm
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    While I’m a vinyl collector and have been since the mid-80s, I’m taking advantage of the boom to get back into CDs. People are dumping them at thrift stores and used places and it’s given me the opportunity to nab hard-to-find reissues, deluxe editions and box sets. That is, until the nostalgia for CDs happens in the next few years and the cycle begins anew…

    Reply
  • July 7, 2021 at 1:28 pm
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    Is vinyl record recicyble?

    Plan and simple to answer the question?🙂🖖

    Reply

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