If vinyl had a voice, I’m sure that’s what at least a few of the heated commodities would have to say following their exits from mom and pop record stores this past Saturday.
As is the current slice of news for many bloggers and music enthusiasts across the internet for the past two days, as much “good, clean fun” as Record Store Day can be for those of us who still support tangible product and the playing of records until they start to melt/fuse with your player, there’s an inevitable shadow of profit flipping with the very same products.
Various outlets, such as this one at exclaim.ca, have reported in particular, about the most dramatically inflated flips that have been recorded on eBay this weekend.
The Ed Banger B-Sides Box seems to have taken the most re-sell “damage,” calculated and reported by different publications with different currency sale prices. No matter which country you’re in though, it’s still a major and unnecessary exploitation of limited supply. Another concise display of just how bad it can be is HERE with The Daily Swarm.
**Note: The aforementioned “B-Sides Box Set” wasn’t actually part of the merchandise listed for US availability on Saturday at the store I went to, and was limited to 500 copies worldwide. As Ed Banger Records is based in France, I have a feeling most of the copies probably started and ended up somewhere in the EU.
…In case you’re curious, THIS is one remix track off the sought after eBay vinyl, from French Electro-artist “Busy P” titled, “Procrastinator (Hey Today!)” Busy P is the DJ producer, owner and manager of Ed Banger Records. (Not to mention also the former manger of Daft Punk.) (As a compliment to the music, I can kind of understand why the music lover on the other end of the eBay transaction might be willing to bid outrageously for tracks like this. Again, I said KIND OF.)
I digress. My take on “record flipping day?” In an ideal world, the idea and heart behind the whole event is centered around nurturing independent business and the excitement of owning/listening to the records you buy. The reason artists make such special things like picture discs, unorthodox cover recordings and revival of nearly extinct mono masters, is for the enjoyment of their fans -both long time and newer to the fold. Even though people do have to physically go into the indie stores and do in fact pay those establishments in order to get the merchandise, for the flippers it’s just a means to an end of a much larger profit being secured to their own back pockets. And that my friends, means for the eBay re-sellers, there’s no sincerity behind handing cash to the cashier at the store. I’m even taking collectors into account. I’m sure there are those of you out there that bought your one copy of whatever item and will not be re-selling but also not opening your discs. That’s all well and good. Some of these are liable to indeed become quite valuable and maybe you just want to have an intact, undamaged piece of history. Good for you! You are still showing your appreciation and what you’re doing brings some enjoyment to you.
If you’re just getting your hands on a limited press to pass it to the highest bidder because it’s a potential collectors item and you presume people will pay beyond reason for it, then you’re just functioning as a middle man and there’s no enjoyment to be had, except maybe after your ebay payment comes through to you via direct deposit.
Furthermore, the fact that other items like shirts, stickers, buttons, blind box monster figures (with matching miniature “Record Store Day” records) and piles of free sampler discs are shipped out to many of these independent stores shows the enthusiasm extends beyond laying a hand on a disc sleeve and handing a chunk of cash to a store owner. My perception is that the support extends past only making the budget to keep the store doors open. A good majority of these people, (I would venture to postulate,) have come to shop in these stores in the past, with some degree of affection for their respective local businesses. In pretty much every case I’ve seen, the objective behind opening up your own singular or limited-location business is not to pinch pennies. Otherwise, those business owners would simply strive as fast as possible to become larger corporations with less investment in personal grassroots flair.
So although I know it’s within your own right to sell off a record you waited in line for and bought, to me, that whole mentality is undermining the other crucial ambition of Record Store Day, which is to re-ignite excitement into the nature of the music buying experience. People come together over something they like and then share that liking with others. It might sound like a pipe dream with how things are today, but hey, given that vinyl is making a comeback in any sense with everything in the music industry happening around it, then is having an idealistic dream for the industry I treasure really that delusional?
And in my one piece of slightly passive aggressive angst at the re-sellers:
Way to go eBay flippers, you are looking to thrive on the one loophole that will disturb everyone else’s attempt at a genuine reinvigoration and celebration effort by making it entirely about money and your own personal gain.