The D-Side: A Flipper's Paradise

2012 Record Store Day / The D-Side / April 24, 2012

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

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?

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Christopher Lantinen
Chris Lantinen is the owner and editor-in-chief of Modern Vinyl. Along with his modest collection of sad sounding records, he collects his share of soundtracks and previously adored indie up-and-comers. Chris is currently a professor of journalism and public relations at Edinboro University in the Erie, Pennsylvania area.

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on April 25, 2012

I agree but don’t with you. I feel as if someone buying the liquid filled vinyl is in the same boat as you were. It doesn’t matter if they only bought one or two they still took the opportunity from somebody behind them in line that could have wanted to own that record to truly own it, Hell if i could have gotten to nashville and waited the two days in front of the store just to get that record i would get it and cherish it because that record is awesome. The act of flipping in general is very hard to justify and i think selling the album for over a thousand dollars just makes it worse. If anything i think if things are just over stock prices and sold on ebay that is better for only one reason. The reason is strictly that not everyone is lucky enough to be anywhere near a record store. I know a few friends this record store day that just couldn’t get near a store therefore all the great RSD releases they wanted they just couldn’t get so there only means of buying these records are reasonably priced sales of the record on ebay.

    on April 25, 2012

    I certainly agree with your second point. The international customers I mentioned was my way of saying anyone not around a record store. If it’s your only choice and you can find a reasonable seller on eBay, that can be a way to participate in the day.

on April 25, 2012

i completely agree with this article. i hate knowing some people who bought the records i wanted to have in my collection on RSD bought them solely just to sell and now i’m gonna have to pay insane prices just to own some music that i love on vinyl. but, hell yeah, if i found a $100+ record somewhere for dirt cheap i’d listen to it once then flip that sucker. at some point you gotta say “ok, my collecting is awesome and important to me… but i need money for food, bills, school etc. and sometimes collecting money would be a little cooler than collecting records” you gotta do what you gotta do.

on April 25, 2012

It’s a shame that the entire premise of record store day is kinda flawed. They make these exclusive releases as an excuse for you to go to your local record store and check it out and support it. Unfortunately, most people go in there just to buy up the popular releases only to flip them. Many of the people who would actually support the store don’t even bother going in if they know they can’t get what they want. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of these stores held back some of the rarer records just to ebay them themselves. I mean, If everyone else is doing it, why not?

on April 25, 2012

I know for a FACT, my FAVORITE local record store holds back the most “flippable” items for eBay. Luckily, I learned this when the Pearl Jam 20 vinyl came out. I never ended up getting the PJ20 vinyl I was promised, because my shop wanted $125 buy it now, which seemed QUITE odd since I was at a record store, not ebay shopping. I say LUCKILY, because I didn’t have to wait in line with all the poor saps to try to get a Ed Vedder “LBC/Wishlist” vinyl, because I knew they wouldn’t even sell any. My record store day was spent laying in bed, watching The Last Waltz. RIP, LEVON!
FLIP ON PEOPLE!!!!!!!! NOT, record stores!

on April 25, 2012

Sadly that’s why I didn’t make the drive to my record/eBay store when everything in there is jacked up in price anyway and tried my luck at what I could get thru shitradiocast (kinda overpriced imo) and the nice folks at the vc board who got extras to fight the flippers that be. Got quite a few that I could flip to so many poor suckers but I’m a fan, theyre in my collection for life.

With that said I considered my first eBay sale today. Have an extra copy of the new mark tom and Travis show. actual cost was like 10 bucks cuz of coups. Its now sold out and I wanna put it up at 20.99, does that make me a flipper cuz it’s double what I payed? And if goes over than that price? At 10 bucks or even 20 I’d rather my gf or sister have it than anyone else. But then again I need food $$$

on April 25, 2012

Im new to the vinyl world. I got hooked on it last year for record store day because I happened to be lucky enough to tour with a band that was invited to play a record store on record store day and the shop gave us a bunch of the releases for free.
after that I was hooked, and since then have dropped some tender coin on my record collection.
Im still figuring it out, but I live in a town with one record store that doesn’t really get many new releases. so I have to shop online.
When the thrice vinyl came out in hot topic, some how my local store got 5 copies. I picked up one for myself, and went back a week later and the other 4 copies were still there. I asked around some blogs if I could pick one up for anyone and ship it out… i was bombarded with responses but was told I was asking for too much for the record. ($24 + shipping) so I put it on eBay with a starting price of 99 cents. I was then harassed even more and called a flipper. This seems like no one can win out here.
I was in boston for this years record store day and couldn’t even come close to what I wanted because newbury comics was packed.
I found half the stuff I wanted online (shop cast radio) for what I thought was a decent price… and then a day later most of it was cheaper on the record labels site… again i felt like I had been dicked over but still took it with a smile.
Im on tour now, and since I change cities every day I get to see a lot of different record stores all over the country, and happened to find most of the other albums I was looking for… at a crazy high price (minus a shop i found in evansville, in)
but most of the shop owners I meet eBay what ever doesn’t sell in the first week because they can’t return what ever doesn’t sell…
its just a very confusing cycle and almost every where I turn I feel like someone is out to scam me (online and in the shops)
sorry for the rant… I just really want to do this “the right way” if such a way even exists

on April 26, 2012

“When I arrived at my local record store, within 10 minutes of its opening, only two people stood in line ahead of me.”

Obvious question: Where the hell is that store? On second thought, don’t answer or you’ll be competeing with the flippers next year.

on April 29, 2012

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