NST start With cult fans at London’s Heavy Metal Act in 2020, Green Lung was about to go on their first American tour. After that, covid-19 appeared. The band used the blockade to produce their second album, “Black Harvest.” Recorded by December, ready to master and press on 5,000 gold vinyl records. Given the pandemic turmoil, Green Lung spent a full nine months in time for this September tour. “We were pretty comfortable,” says lead singer Tom Templar.
Instead, the first press of records sold out on pre-orders will not be available until October. The band may have launched on a streaming service like Spotify.But it wanted to wait LP, Will generate much more money in the short term. “Record sales We “Tour,” explains Templar. After all, Green Lung played the album release gig recordless on September 1st. Thus, the band has become the latest and most unexpected victim of turbulence in the global supply chain.
beginning CDs, then digital downloads and now streaming made vinyl records look like vintage curiosity. However, in recent years, fans have become physically owned by their favorite band’s music, resulting in a surge in sales (perhaps sticking to better sound quality). In March, record sales in the UK reached the last highs seen in 1989. “Every artist in the world has been playing with his thumbs for 18 months to make records,” says Ed Macdonald, 100% Records Manager. We are Scientists, an indie rock band. “Vinyl is a very integral part of our sales,” he says. Mainstream artists are increasingly involved. Taylor Swift’s album “Evermore” was first released digitally in December and set a 30-year record for record sales. The album will be released shortly by Ed Sheeran, ABBA And coldplay.
Unfortunately for musicians, it’s becoming nearly impossible to squeeze them. Most vinyl press factories were closed in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Due to the rage of covid-19, the largest remaining ones (USA, Czech Republic, Germany, Poland) had to be temporarily closed, causing a backlog. Currently, the demand from musicians exceeds capacity. Moreover, PVC, Plastic used for manufacturing LPs surged after hurricane Ida knocked out 60% of US production in August. On the other hand, the demand from companies that use automobiles and pipes has increased sharply (see graph).
Dirk van den Heuvel of Chicago dance music distributor Groove Distribution said that in the 2000s a major label caused a crisis by closing its press factory. If they kept running these, he would have complained, the majors would have been ready to meet the demand, and the little musicians wouldn’t have been so oppressed now. Indeed, large labels often provide press priorities. But not always. It may be cold comfort for van den Heuvel and Green Lung, but Swift’s fans had to wait months for their fans. LPs too. ■■
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This article was published in the printed Business section under the heading “Out of the groove”.
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