Indie Labels Address Vinyl Warping Due to U.S. Heat Waves

Indie Labels Address Vinyl Warping Due to U.S. Heat Waves

As customers report warped and damaged records, labels like Ba Da Bing and Joyful Noise are attempting to mitigate the issue
Melting vinyl record
Graphic by Derek Abella

As punishing, dangerous heat waves have become a massive problem in the United States over the past weeks, one minor consequence is that vinyl record shipments are being warped by extreme weather. Ba Da Bing Records, which released the new Cassandra Jenkins album An Overview on Phenomenal Nature, sent an email to customers noting that multiple people had received warped records. The label offered customers two options in an attempt to mitigate the risk of damaged vinyl.

  1. We can delay your shipment. If you write us and let us know you’d like to have your shipment held until the heat wave definitely passes, just reply to this email. Then, when things are looking a bit cooler in your region, let us know you’re ready to receive and we’ll send your copy out.
  2. We send our records via media mail, which can take up to two weeks to arrive. We do this since it’s so much less expensive to ship and we don’t have to charge that much back to you. However, we would be happy to upgrade your shipping from standard to priority mail. This would require you to send us a bit extra money to cover to postage increase—it could be up to $8 more depending upon where in the country you live. Let us know and we can tell you the cost.

Other labels are giving customers advance notice about the possibility of the weather impacting records. Sargent House Records, the label behind albums by Deafheaven and the Armed, noted that the merch store it works with—Hello Merch—added the following language about weather to its Terms of Service: “Please be aware we DO NOT issue refunds or replacements for damage due to extreme weather conditions, minor cosmetic damage, such as corner dings, bends, split inserts, and so on.” Hello Merch works with multiple indie labels and artists.

Joyful Noise Records noted it hasn’t heard as much about warped records, but, in an effort to be proactive about the possibility of heat damage, it printed large labels for vinyl mailings that read: “PACKAGE CONTAINS VINYL RECORDS, DO NOT LEAVE IN DIRECT SUNLIGHT (f*ck climate change).”

When reached about the possibility of vinyl mailings being damaged by extreme weather, several labels responded that the weather isn’t the problem—it’s that they haven’t been able to get new releases pressed to vinyl at all due amid extensive delays. Read more about the current vinyl manufacturing logjam in Pitchfork’s feature “Why Are Independent Artists and Labels Turning Away From Vinyl.”

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