The largest online retailer Amazon has announced that it will be pausing wholesale orders of CDs, vinyls and other “unessential” items to make room for household and medical supplies in light of the coronavirus outbreak. While Amazon will not be ordering these products until at least April 5th, prospective customers can still order these products if they are currently stocked within the Amazon Warehouse (although it should be noted that this freeze means that they will not be re-stocking these products.
Amazon is one of the largest record retailers in the world, which means this recent policy will likely effect the music industry and independent record labels at large. This temporary halt may also be a benefit to smaller record store retailers and other websites, however, as it temporarily suspends their largest competitor.
“We are seeing increased online shopping, and as a result some products such as household staples and medical supplies are out of stock,” Amazon said in a statement. “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. … We understand this is a change for our selling partners and appreciate their understanding as we temporarily prioritize these products for customers.”
Amazon has had a tenuous relationship with smaller labels in the past. In 2019 the Tommy Boy Records President Rosie Lopez alleged that the retailer sold counterfeit vinyl from their label artists. Their music festival partnerships have also come under fire, due to AWS’ relationship with the government agency ICE.