Amazon Still Ships Music to Customers But Halts New Intake as It Prioritizes Products for Coronavirus

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Amazon's announcement Tuesday that it would only allow essential household products necessary to withstand the coronavirus pandemic into its warehouse for the immediate future was yet another shock to a music industry worried that the industry's momentum of four year's growth might be stymied by the crisis.

But while it means that new physical music likely will be completely shut out from the company's warehouse -- labels are all re-evaluating their release schedules anyway -- as it stands now, that period is only from now through April 5. After that date, Amazon expects to get back to business as normal, if warehouse capacity and circumstances allow it, according to industry sources.

In the meantime, Amazon is focusing its distribution pipeline on prioritizing goods that are relevant to the current COVID-19 situation.

"We are seeing increased online shopping and as a result some products such as household staples and medical supplies are out of stock," according to a statement from an Amazon spokesperson. "With this in mind, we are temporarily prioritizing household staples, medical supplies and other high-demand products coming into our fulfillment centers so we can more quickly receive, restock and ship these products to customers. We understand this is a change for our selling partners and appreciate their understanding as we temporarily prioritize these products for customers."

Meanwhile, Amazon continues to ship all product lines, including music, from inventory already in its warehouses. And while Tuesday's announcement cut off vendors from sending in new orders or getting packaging labels for product shipments, music product already approved for delivery to the warehouses and with the necessary documents that is already in transit will still be received at Amazon's warehouses, processed and fulfilled, industry executives say Amazon is telling them.

Moreover, sellers in the Amazon marketplace likely will still be carrying whatever new titles come out during the period that haven't been approved for delivery to Amazon's warehouse; or whatever music product is sold out at Amazon. Also, for music product up in the store, Amazon will allow vendors to do their own fulfillment, via the Amazon marketplace, if that stock is not available in the Amazon warehouse during the down period. All together, this likely means customers will still be able to shop Amazon and get their physical music needs fulfilled.