Recent data suggest that vinyl is seeing a large surge in demand, and suppliers are having trouble keeping up.
According to a mid-year report by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), revenue from vinyl sales in the United States alone jumped 94%. That jump in sales amounts to seventeen million records and $467 million dollars, more than double the sales of CDs in that same period.
This increased interest is causing supply shortages and delays ranging anywhere from ten to twelve months. Vinyl production is a time-consuming process, partly due to the fact that the main component (lacquer) mainly comes from one source in Japan. A lot of the machinery used to press records dates back to the seventies, which means it runs slowly. While factories are updating their machines, it’s a costly and time-consuming process. Supply chain issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic only compound the issue even more.
Paradoxically, the COVID-19 pandemic is also cited as a reason for the increased popularity of vinyl. With concert venues closing down and tours being canceled, artists have had to turn to other methods to generate income. This includes creating more physical media to sell to fans, such as collector’s items and vinyl records.