The DJ Equipment Shortage: Explained

There is a shortage of new DJ equipment around the world. Shelves are empty, supply is low, and the prices are skyrocketing. There are many reasons behind this. The cost of components, labor, and freight all play a factor. In addition, the congested ports, international tariffs, and semiconductor shortage aren’t helping. DJ TechTools has recently done an analysis on why this is all happening.

Cost of Materials and Labor

The cost of copper, which is used in things like audio cables, has doubled in price in the last year. The cost of labor has risen as well. This is most likely due to the pandemic, the labor shortage, and local lockdowns. 

Freight issues

Global shipping has been a nightmare as well, and it is what is necessary to make the global supply chain possible. Companies are paying higher premiums to guarantee space on ships. Alternatively, they are using air freight – which is admittedly worse for the planet, and more expensive, but at least allows goods to arrive closer to their scheduled times. 

The memory of the Ever Given that blocked the Suez Canal for six days is still clear in the public consciousness. Even now, more than 60 ships are waiting off the shores of America’s largest portage area in Southern California. These ships carry tens of thousands of shipping containers that are unable to unload their goods at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. These ports are only operating at 60-70% capacity and also dealing with a shortage of workers, equipment, and time.

Semiconductor shortage

There is also a semiconductor shortage. Most of the supply will go to the biggest companies with the largest contracts first (e.g. Apple). Since DJ equipment is more niche and drives a smaller market, it will not have priority access to semiconductors like phone and computer companies will.

Tariffs

With the changing political administration in the U.S., there was a hope that there would be some tariff relief in regards to China. These tariffs impose a 20% (minimum) cost increase to good delivered to the US. The original hope behind this idea was to move manufacturing out of China and give other countries a shot at production. However, because the city of Shenzhen is arguably the superlative in the world when it comes to manufacturing (it has a force of specialized labor, access to goods, and raw materials), the production market hasn’t really left China, and those cost increases are passed on to us. 

High Demand

Lastly, as live music returns, the demand for the necessary equipment also returns. With events like ACL this weekend (among many other upcoming fall festivals) people are getting back into the music mindset. This demand will only put further stress on a market that is already bottlenecked. 

A word to the wise: do your holiday shopping now, especially if you shop online. Because of this shortage, your items could be on back order for weeks or even months. Keep dancing, friends – and plan ahead.

H/T: DJ TechTools

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