Digging through vinyl used 45's.

Vinyl Flippers: You’re Going To Have A Bad Time

An emergency late night drive to Boston strikes a chance at reflection on shitty days past. Hurt feelings of harsh vinyl prices echo the distaste of greed from the latest generation. Tense moments ramp up as the time before the big day arise: excitement and excrement alike.

Here comes the science. I took a look at a random handful of 25 releases from RSD 2015 and compared them to how they are doing now, at the time this is written. My sample source is small and I likely have some bias one way or another as to the outcome. Basically, I am a terrible researcher and should be publicly shamed for this. I want you, dear reader, to confirm or refute my claims. Here’s my source, the data is median marketplace price for sold items, prices are in GBP.

25 RSD 2015 Exclusives

This all stinks of manufactured scarcity. After the initial glut of flippers attempting to get beyond top dollar, prices seem to pretty much crash back to list price or slightly lower. Now seems like a good time to be buying previous year’s exclusives.

Some wise guy once said that the value you should be getting out of records should be to your ears, not your wallets. Not only are vinyl records a bad investment, but you’ve sacrificed the point of owning music in the first place. If money is your thing, collect gold bullion or something. Get out of my hobby and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

The problem isn’t just flippers though. We have to take our hobby back from the same major labels that tried to destroy it 20 years ago and were suing our grandmother’s for mp3s ten years ago. Support your independent local record stores by buying used and buying independent. Avoid manufactured rare and remember: nothing marketed as a collectible ever is in the end.

I want you to go out and do your own research and show me some releases that have increased in resale value from the previous year. I know they’re in there somewhere. Find them and report below.

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  • Nov 26,2016 at 2:36 am

    If the value of records is to your ears and not to your wallet, then why do care if the values decrease? If you’re not planning on selling, the current value is irrelevant.

  • Nov 25,2016 at 9:55 pm

    I hate the whole flipper scene on new product – it was a plague when I was heavily into doom metal and stuff like Southern Lord. I get some real schadenfreude reading how a lot of RSD titles are dropping in price, mostly because all I can think of is the collective flipper butthurt. Sadly, I must have good taste or something because the ones I miss out on that I want always get expensive! Ah well. C’est la vie.

  • Apr 18,2016 at 9:34 pm

    It’s like you wrote a love letter to every ass-hole selling Death Grips records on Discogs.

    This is also why I’m just done with Record Store Day. No interest in the mad dash at 7am to not get the record I’m seeking only to find it sealed online an hour later for $100. At least this hobby isn’t as bad as retro video-games. Yeesh, so glad I cashed my chips on that one.

  • Apr 18,2016 at 1:56 pm

    Well I’m still trying to find a “deja entendu” by Brand New for less than 5 times its original selling price (it was only 40$!) and it makes me cry…

  • Apr 17,2016 at 11:51 am

    The whole supply/demand argument is flawed because there are many releases out these days where a clear demand does exist and it is being consciously undercut with those “ultralimited, available only on one website for 5 minutes” releases. You can’t compare that to a house or a car. Try selling a newly acquired car one year later…
    As for the whole RSD charade, this will continue to go on as there are many newbred “collectors” that jump on any color variation to fill their timecapsule archives (read: they drop tons of cash on the counter for a record they already own).

  • Apr 16,2016 at 8:15 am

    Death Grips “Government Plates” is rarely listed for under $200 USD.

  • Apr 16,2016 at 7:03 am

    I agree with blackplastik — if you buy something for a buck and sell it for five, you are flipping it at a 500% markup. Every store in the world does this every day of the week, except oftentimes they will also only give you a dollar for records they sell for 10, 15 and $20 as well lol, especially if you have a sizable quantity. Or they give less than a dollar. Isn’t that flipping? Is it exploitative?

    I get the false scarcity component of the angst, of course…RSD new releases and reissues are not my reality, so I guess I never get all the hubbub every year…I am swimming in so many quality albums from the 50s to 80s already — untold boxes of greatness to catch up with that don’t have huge price tags on them…..

  • Apr 15,2016 at 6:19 pm

    Yes, most releases are a bit cheaper after a year or two. Except those that are completely sold out and are sought after. But the same goes for most regular releases as well. I never understood why should people gamble with records, as if the stock exchange isn’t enough.

  • Apr 15,2016 at 4:16 pm

    What I don’t get is why it’s ok for people to flip houses or cars… but when it comes to vinyl, the lynch mob will come after you with pitchforks & torches! It all boils down to supply & demand. Anyone remember when Michael Jackson died and what “Thriller” was going for? Yeah, that didn’t last long.

  • Apr 15,2016 at 4:13 pm

    Prices on Devo’s Live at Max’s Kansas City 1977 – the one RSD release I’ve ever actually missed out on, I think it was two years ago now – were jacked up well over $100 right after it sold out, but a quick search on both ebay and Discogs just now shows it most recently having sold in the range of $40-60. There are copies for sale on ebay for over $100, but searching actual SOLD listings only yielded one recent result, that having gone for $57.99. Not sure what the original list price of it was, but I’m guessing around $24.99? So it hasn’t absolutely soared in value, but it has increased a bit. Anyway, I’m not pointing it out to justify it – I think it sucks, because I buy all my records to listen to, not for their value, and I was really looking forward to getting that one. I give it another year or two and it may be obtainable for an even more reasonable price now that the hype is well past.

  • Apr 15,2016 at 7:44 am

    Basically it work like dis doe.

    If the record is truly great and truly hard as fuck to find it will always sell for tons. Has to be truly great and has to be truly limited. Who the fuck thought anything ASAP Rocky ever put out wiuld be worth anything? Who even is that? Lol… people actually listen to animal collective? I though that was just college radio elevator music! Hahahha

    And yes the market is fucked up and all u “flippers” on discogs can suck my dick. I collect and enjoy thats the beauty. If you are buying to resell fuck you. You just fucked up my trip to the record store. Fuck you reading this right now. Piece of shit. Lol yea u kno in talkin about u. Hahahhahahaha for real I left that extra copy of deloused at the store for you the other day fucktard so you could listen ti it and enjoy it!

    Rant over… wonder if i can say that shit? Whatever, fuck you too. ;)

  • Apr 15,2016 at 6:30 am

    Last year I was after the Sandra Wright Wounded Woman album and got it (original pressings are worth £150). I checked ebay and the first flipped copy on there went for £82, after that they struggled to reach the £20 that the record shops were charging on RSD.

  • Apr 15,2016 at 5:26 am

    I’m pretty sure all the David Bowie picture discs have gone up in price every year. I think the Lush box set this year will sell out in a flash and go up on eBay for 2-3x the price :(

  • Apr 15,2016 at 5:22 am

    I’d say most of the releases with smaller print runs from a very popular artist is going to at least hold its value if not increase.

  • Apr 15,2016 at 3:32 am

    w/o looking at stats, just from personal observations, I’d say there’s about 20% of RSD stuff that does sell out and become pricey, either due to smaller press runs or insane demand… the other 80% does indeed sit there and clog up bins all year (or sit in people’s discogs stores and not sell).

    if you can figure out which items are going to become sweated (and where you can find them, and then waste a whole day in line), you will indeed make money. if you randomly just buy and RSD stuff, you’ll take a loss

  • Apr 14,2016 at 10:07 pm

    Not positive why Brand New’s Deja Entendu repress with the diecut cover wasn’t in your RSD 2015 list, maybe because it’s a UK based list and not a USA based list, but that one definitely rose significantly. Suggested retail price was $40, and it’s never sold for less than $80 on Discogs since then, and has gone for as high as $300.

    There’s also Father John Misty’s “I Love You, Honeybee”, the 7″ pressed onto a heart shaped slag of red translucent vinyl. Suggested retail was about $10 to $15 USD, and it’s lowest price sold on discogs is $45.

    There’s definitely flippable albums in the RSD releases, but they’re usually only a handful that have that level of demand each year.

  • Apr 14,2016 at 9:57 pm

    The reason this is happening is because record shops are now much more wary of RSD itself, this is because the profit margins are slim and (I believe) you’re expected to buy a lot of stock. Many shops end up not selling it all – this shatters the illusion of scarcity and exclusivity.

    The product itself is very expensive and labels have gone overboard in repressing any old rubbish (e.g. Ghostbusters 12″…why?), with prices of albums often well over £20 GBP, which I think is just too much.

    The error on the part of the labels is that these represses are just not particularly sought after. RSD would do better with more exclusive content, like that Floating Points 10″ that came a few years ago.

    I’d bet a vast majority of those items you’ve analysed are all readily available on CD at a much better price on Amazon.

  • Apr 14,2016 at 2:45 pm

    In mentioning false scarcity you hit the nail on the head that drives me wild about marketing music now. It’s my wizened belief that music was supposed to represent an affordable, mass-marketed art form that one did not have to be wealthy to experience. Records bought music performances to every home that could not could not afford tickets to the opera or orchestra. That’s why it was based on mass production principles. Limiting the production numbers to a few hundred shuts out the vast majority of potential purchasers. The problem is that the beast demands to be fed, and it doesn’t care how, as long as its intake can be maintained. When peer-to-peer demolished the industry, we were all victims to one degree or another.

  • Apr 14,2016 at 2:32 pm

    This is encouraging news! Thanks for sharing this with us!

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