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Independent record store boycotting Adele over vinyl shortage

Skeleton Records in Birkenhead is boycotting Adele’s new album ‘30’ due to a vinyl shortage. Over 500,000 copies of her album have been pressed despite materials currently being sparce worldwide.

Adele will be dominating the charts for the foreseeable future with the imminent release of her new album ‘30’.

Whether you’re a fan or not, there’s no denying that she’s one of the biggest artists in the world. She continues to top charts and break records. Her latest single ‘Easy On Me’ already has over 150 million views on YouTube and new clips from a recent interview with Oprah just dropped on CBS. Not exactly an underground indie act.

It’s this intense popularity that’s causing issues with the independent music scene. Though we’d still say that listening to music via vinyl is less preferable than streaming or CD due to its environmental impact, it remains a booming industry – despite a worldwide shortage of materials to press new releases.

Many artists have had to push album drops on vinyl back as a result and its been difficult for indie acts to get their heads in the production door. Adele, meanwhile, has had half a million copies of ‘30’ created in time for its release, gobbling up valuable vinyl that can’t be used for any other act.

Independent store Skeleton Records is boycotting ‘30’ as a result, and is encouraging others to do the same. Speaking to The Big Issue, store manager Ben Savage noted that ‘she’s got [so many] copies of her album pressed at a time when everybody’s struggling.’

He called the decision ‘incredibly selfish’. Although he holds nothing against Adele personally, he says prioritising bigger acts hurts the industry from the top down.

‘I know a couple of artists whose albums are now seven months late because they just can’t get them pressed.’

Less variety in vinyl choices will hurt the sales of small, local shops that rely on diversity to draw in customers. It’ll be the big chains like HMV that’ll benefit from top artist pressings such as Adele.

Keep in mind too that those 500,000 vinyl pressings aren’t going to sell out overnight.

The Big Issue notes that Taylor Swift sold 40,000 wax records of ‘Evermore’ in three days, which broke the record for most vinyl sold in the US in a single week. Based off those numbers, and assuming Adele somehow sells more than that consistently every week, it would still take her nearly three months to sell out.

Ultimately, many indie acts and commentators feel that this large quantity of record production is unnecessary and unfair.

Tons of artists have waited nearly a year for their albums to be pressed, yet Adele can cut the queue and crank out a boat load of product overnight. One person on Twitter called it ‘maximal industry inequity’.

Whether or not ‘30’ is a musical masterpiece, the pressing issue demonstrates an unfair balance in the industry that can be seen in all areas, not just vinyl pressing. Whether it’s festival priority, streaming payments, or radio airtime, there is a disproportionate amount of favouritism and attention given to the very biggest acts.

Put simply, more care and love needs to be given to smaller artists, rather than every resource being funnelled down to a select few.


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