In this op-ed by Terrier Currier (owner of Music Millennium) on Your Morning Coffee, we get a shop’s eye view on how these ongoing inefficiencies threaten the livelihoods of both the indie labels who powered the vinyl resurgence and the independent retailers who are the lynchpin to the entire physical goods value chain.
While vinyl sales have seen their highest point since 1988 and RIAA midyear reports showing continued growth, the benefit of the LP renaissance has unfortunately proven to be less equitable for smaller indie labels, as well as the retail shops who distribute their works.
Major labels were quick to capitalize on the market opportunity and began to reissue much of their legacy catalogs. The sheer volume of the Majors’ business was quickly prioritized by a relatively tiny number of existing vinyl manufacturers, effectively kneecapping indie’s ability to create and ship products in a timely fashion.
The demand for vinyl has proven to have staying power with more and new manufacturers popping up in recent years. However, the distribution and fulfillment space is now seeing a similar bottleneck due to the Majors.
While the general public might not be aware of the issues at hand (as the majority of consumption is squarely through digital channels) the current state of affairs has been dubbed “the biggest debacle involving physical goods ever in the history of the record industry.”
The issue has stemmed from the overall consolidation of the vendors that major labels use to fulfill physical goods to both their artists for both tour and direct web sales, as well as brick and mortar retailers and online outlets.