Music Industry

Published on November 9th, 2018 | by Alan Cross


There is suddenly a shortage of big-name CD releases. Why? Well, it’s complicated.

Shoppers descending on record stores looking for a CD copy of Greta Fan Fleet’s Anthem of the Peaceful Army may have found an empty space in the racks. Same thing with those looking for the A Star is Born soundtrack. Tha Carter V from Lil Wayne and Kamikaze from Eminem. “Sold out” says the dude at the counter. “Everything’s on back order.”

This seems a little strange given that CD sales are in a death spiral, down 26% from this time last year.

What’s going on? Several things.

  1. Production of CDs has moved from Canada and the US to Mexico. Owners of CD-making factors have been moving their operations sound for the last couple of years as demand for discs has continued to fall. Unpackaged discs are then shipped back north where they are packaged and distributed. That eats up a lot of time.
  2. There’s been an unexpected demand for physical versions of certain releases, especially A Star is Born. That’s added to the supply problem.
  3. The move toward surprise releases (hello, Eminem!) has made it more difficult for labels to ramp up manufacturing and distribution. With no lead time, how are they supposed to get CDs in the stores?

It’ll take a while to get all this sorted. Meanwhile, there might be some shortages just in time for the holiday shopping season.

More at Billboard.


About the Author

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.

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