Adele's '30' Puts Major Pressure on Vinyl Pressing Plants Amid Worldwide Shortage
A new report breaks down how the mega-star managed to rush-order records in the midst of a worldwide vinyl shortage
That sort of monolithic presence is a rarity now, and it's surely an unending thrill for the music execs that benefit from it. But a recent report from Variety — and the reaction to it from smaller artists on Twitter (and at this point, most artists are "smaller" than Adele) — lays out the trouble with one person (or a small handful) holding such sway over the music industry.
According to Variety, Adele's 30 was turned into manufacturers more than six months ago in order to combat the recent worldwide vinyl shortage — caused by unprecedented, pandemic-related demand, supply-chain disruptions and an increase in manufacturing prices — that has left many artists waiting months after an album's digital release for vinyl records.
While the early submission itself is not unusual — as Variety notes, many artists are given even earlier deadlines than that — Adele's choke-hold on the music industry meant she was able to book up already-overbooked vinyl plants in order to rush-order pressings so that they would arrive alongside 30's digital release. According to Sony Music sources cited in the article, the company also made the decision to "push catalogue titles off its overseas pressing plants to ensure there won't be any shortage of Adele LPs going into the holidays."
Over 500,000 copies of 30 were pressed and will now be hitting stores on November 19, while pressings from smaller artists and imprints — who often rely on vinyl sales in order to survive — are now delayed even further (some until 2022) in order to accommodate the blockbuster release.
And though she's a trendsetter in the matter, the issue isn't specific only to Adele, as Variety notes that fellow pop-juggernaut Ed Sheeran told Australian radio hosts Kyle and Jackie O that "Adele had basically booked out all the vinyl factories, so we had to get a slot and get our album in there. It was like me, Coldplay, Adele, Taylor, ABBA, Elton, all of us were trying to get our vinyls printed at the same time."
The in-depth Variety piece covers many specifics and POVS from industry insiders, and you can read it here.
The big-name vinyl race represents an exasperating, if not unsurprising, pattern, and many artists, small label folks and music people took to Twitter to express their frustration on the matter. Read some of the reactions and insights below.
the worst part about Adele fucking up vinyl manufacturing / supply chain is that you just know at least a third of people who buy copies are going to be playing them on a Crosley— Nick Zanca (@MisterLies) November 4, 2021
adele named her new album 30 cuz that's how many months indie labels have to wait to get their vinyl pressed— Drew Beringer (@drewberinger) November 4, 2021
proudly backing up pressing plants literally hoarding freakin PLASTIC https://t.co/vzBVdpmHGf— kissy 💋 mood ring out NOW! (@kississippiPHL) November 4, 2021
i don't even collect vinyl but the fact that independent labels and artists have to wait 9-18 months to have their records pressed in favor of majors pressing an adele, taylor or ed sheeran album or a 1000th repressing of a beatles lp feels quite depressing am i wrong— Shinji Icardi (aka v*lni) (@v_u_l_n_i) November 4, 2021
"Adele's '30' Sends Vinyl Pressing Plants Into Overdrive, While LP Shortages Leave Many Artists Chasing Pavements" .... this is a HUGE issue for those artists who depend on vinyl as a primary source of income. As usual the majors dont GAF... https://t.co/E515lFoZ1H— 🅂🅃🄴🄿🄷🄴🄽 🄱🅄🄳🄳 Anti-Nazi #RejoinEU 🌊🌊 (@stephenbudd) November 4, 2021
it's pretty cool that nearly every piece of vinyl i've ordered over the last several months has been delayed in order to make more copies of an adele album ¯\_(ツ)_/¯— number one soup rat (@purity0lympics) November 4, 2021
Ok, I lied. The 500,000 vinyl copies of Adele's new album is my actual joker origin story— Light In The Attic (@lightintheattic) November 4, 2021
An Ocean's Eleven-style heist film about sneaking into a vinyl pressing plant at night and making them press 500,000 copies of the new Deerhoof album instead of the new Adele album.— Zach Schonfeld (@zzzzaaaacccchhh) November 4, 2021