The D-Side is an opinion column which allows the writers and fans of Modern Vinyl to give their thoughts on various vinyl-related events. If you have a passionate opinion that you’d like to share with others, either leave it in the comments or send us what you’d like to write about, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
33 copies of Straylight Run’s self titled album have been sold on Ebay since April 21st. Nine are currently up for bid.
30 copies of Mae’s “The Everglow” have sold so far. Seventeen more are up for bid.
And 16 of the Jack White liquid filled records from Third Man, the hottest item from 2012 Record Store Day, have sold for enormous prices. Seven more are now up for bid.
But the statistics I’ve provided shouldn’t exactly come as a surprise. The art of flipping a record has been in existence for as long as records have carried any amount of substantial value. And during Record Store Day, a time when collectors seemingly throw caution to the wind, the profits made by those re-selling the most sought after records is almost too easy. Before Record Store Day even took place, people were coughing up large amounts of money to “purchase” records a seller couldn’t possibly own at that time. So yes, it’s that easy.
To tell you the truth, though, some of the flips that occur as part of RSD don’t bother me. Specifically, I’m looking at the previously mentioned liquid filled vinyl. I’d like everyone to ask themselves: what would you do if you got your hands on one of Third Man’s specialty records this season? Would you sell it for this much? How about for this much? For me, that’s three months rent. And I’ll admit that yes, it would be extremely tough to hang on to it when confronted with that type of temptation. So I’m not here to damn every flipper that took advantage of someone willing to cough up nearly two grand for a 7″ record.
Instead, I’m here to remind everyone that we should look at the liquid filled record as an exception to the unwritten rule that perpetrates the hatred of flipping. You see, what I’m more concerned about, and what I get truly upset over, are the sellers that choose to make the $10, or the $20 profit on a given transaction. The flippers that are concerned with that small of a profit are the ones that aren’t chasing the jackpot of RSD, but instead the ones that load up on exactly what you’ve stood in line for. They’re the ones that buy up multiple copies (yes, some stores allow it) of Straylight Run’s contribution or of this year’s Feist and Mastodon split. They are the ones that truly piss off true music fans.
Take my experience for example. When I arrived at my local record store, within 10 minutes of its opening, only two people stood in line ahead of me. Perfect situation, right? Well, as it turns out, the first person in line decided to purchase three copies of an item I was searching for. The eBay price on that item wasn’t skyrocketing above market price before the big day, nor has it after. And as someone who must flip records on a regular basis, I’m sure they knew that.
So what can we do to stop the practice? There’s always bound to be international customers (a valid reason) and those who are uneducated about the online purchase opportunities which await them (not a valid reason). So the most you can individually do is simply not support it. If you’re dying to pick up an RSD release, don’t go and overpay for it on the Internet, just have patience. These items will eventually go down in price, as demand goes down (with the rare exceptions, of course). Represses are always possible, as well. And if you must have it, try to work out a trade with someone who picked up an extra for a friend who didn’t want it in the end (aka picked up a record to flip, but is now embarrassed about it).
And don’t hate Record Store Day because of a group of ignorant people. Love it because of the people who buy music for the right reasons.
Please leave your thoughts in the comments. Would you sell your Third Man liquid filled record?