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.