After making a significant comeback in the 2010s, vinyl has been suffering lately, which makes the timing of the new Adele album unfortunate.

Over 500,000 vinyl copies of the pop superstar’s forthcoming album 30 have reportedly been pressed, an unseemly number when the availability of vinyl has been on the decline.

It’s going to severely affect the ability of smaller artists and labels to get their music out there on vinyl, with significant delays expected or already in motion.

That’s why one English record store has decided to boycott the new Adele album to raise awareness of the issues currently plaguing the vinyl industry.

Skeleton Records in Birkenhead, near Liverpool, won’t stock 30 upon its release on November 19th, as per The Big Issue. Ben Savage from the store explained the reasoning behind their decision.

“I think it’s important to stand up for independent bands,” he said. “By pressing up 500,000 copies of her album, Adele has monopolised all of Europe’s pressing plants.

There have been massive vinyl shortages this year meaning there has been a long waiting list for new releases. I know a couple of artists whose albums are now seven months late because they just can’t get them pressed.”

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Last year saw a historic moment for vinyl: it overtook CD sales for the first time since 1986. Increased demand, though, has placed far too much pressure on an industry unable to cope, particularly after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Savage continued: “It is incredibly frustrating trying to order anything and it has been for about year. It has been impossible to get hold of some of our best selling albums and the record companies have responded in the worst possible way by not opening more plants and employing more staff but by doubling or trebling the prices which means we can’t stock them anymore.”

I’ve always found the real joy in vinyl to be discovering second hand copies, not in buying the latest huge mainstream star’s album on the format. That’s something which Savage also alluded to.

“A lot of our bestselling albums are ones that are over 30 years old because people want things like Fleetwood Mac, David Bowie and The Beatles – you have to try and explain to customers that you can’t physically get hold of them and it’s not because you’ve failed at your job, it’s because there’s a material shortage,” he said.

As was inevitable, once word spread about the boycott, Savage and his store came under attack from toxic stans. To his credit, though, he took it very well. “We would like to thank the “overly enthusiastic” Adele fans for the free publicity we’re receiving for the boycott,” Skeleton Records posted on Twitter. “You are all invited to our 50th anniversary party next year, as is Adele herself if she’s free.”

That’s the thing: none of this is Adele’s fault – her new song is incredible and her new album is likely to be just as great – but being at the forefront of the clogging of a vital music industry is unfortunate. Cassettes, here we come.

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