The still life of vinyls

One thing that always amused me in these latest years is the utopia around the vinyl’s apparent new life…

If somebody fancied the illusion, I am sorry to wake you up but the vinyls are not gonna save nowdays music industry’s fragile asses. Now, we are probably not the most reliable voice out of the crowd as our incidence on the vinyl market is equal to 0,00000000000001% (not even maybe), but I ask myself many questions about the matter simply as a customer and reseller (for our record shop and mailorder website I have to buy stuff from other labels).

I feel like the people who’s buying vinyls today is the same who did 10 years ago or even earlier, if they are still alive …

I dont know any 17/23 years old guys who has jumped on the vinyl wagon at all and just a very small number of customers who awakened from their status of “ex-records buyers” and restarted buying records just because vinyls are back in the game.

I regularly receive lists from other labels and, surprise surprise, those vinyls that were released 2 years ago in strictly 200 copies editions (mega dooba sgaama limited in shit brown colored vinyl of course) are still there and available… Funnily enough these labels are also very jealous in trading and wholesaling these records because they follow the “neverending story” to be able to sell them all at retail price in their webstores (a necessary laughter here).

Today I have been offered copies of Beherit’s “At the Devil’s Studio”, the one edition limited to 2 copies 🙂 including patch and in fantastic vinyl colour and Nargaroth’s “Spectral Visions of whatever Mongos” super sigur guarantee limited edition to 12 copies in tiramisu colored vinyl. Problem: these were released 10 months ago and i would expect that a 7 copies limited edition record of “famous” black metal bands would sell in 24 second instead..

So what? Where is the joke? Labels printing 20.000 and saying these records are limited to 50?  Mmmhhh, not really possible. The reason is that simple, as 4 fishes are swimming in that 40 cm square acquarium well convinced they are swimming the ocean, or the fact that we all easily adapt to the new sizes and situations that life offers to us. So that it is, until 5-7 years ago to sell 200 copies of a record would have been a desaster for a label, while now a success. Adapt to survive, is the key!

This vinyl fever is also oftenly associated to the limited special edition grabbanoia as well, just to take two fishes with one worm of course… so we witness this new phenomenon of labels releasing records like this format:

Limited to 500 copies:  100 on gold vinyl,  250 on white vinyl, 150 on black vinyl.

In many cases there will be a core of 100 people that will buy 1 copy each of all three editions of course. I feel sorry for you guys, the world is collapsing and you are buying 3 copies of the very same record. Some of you even with the illusion to resell them on Ebay at 3400 euro in one year? The maniacal prices paid for collectors items are still there but in most of the cases for “those” records that we know (we have sold “Deathcrush” MLP for 600.00 eur this month in our store and i felt very sorry for the guy, honestly).

The left side of my brain finds this thing disgusting and ridicolous, the right side of it tells instead  that “this is what people likes and wants, so give them what THEY want”.

To me, i.m.h.o. i mean, this is simply a well conceived and conscious act of picking extra money from the very same (unconscious) pockets…: the records obsessed with a collectors fetish or the ones suffering the “it might be sold out soon” angst.

We are not innocent either but at least love to keep the price under control and the recent experience with a few vinyls we did in 2011 (Caldera LP, Before the Rain / Shape of Despair 7″ and Amnis Nihili 10″) taught us some lessings, especially about prices. For this reason I respect what some labels are doing, like VAN for example, as they dont stretch too much prices even when offering really special vinyls and even althoug conscious that somebody is buying records from them at 15,00 euro and putting them on sale on Ebay at 50,00 one month later!

The limited edition bullshit is irreversibly finding its way to an end as well (unless people’s stupidity will constantly grow – not foreseeable though) and labels will find themselves with their stock room filled with expensive vinyls (info note: today in order to print 500 simple LP or 300 nice gatefold ones you need the same money necessary to print 1000 digipacks or 2000 standard cds……).

Of course this is not valid for quite big names who still move some numbers and people’s hunger, but the lethargy of people towards new bands and their debut albums is really indicative of what i am saying, because nobody wants a new band on vinyl. So the scenario looks like if new bands are selling 70 copies of their vinyls and the medium/big ones are selling 300 to 500 (selected cases really..) , so my question is…. if vinyls are really supposed to save labels asses (they won’t) on the other side do you really think that Artists will be happy with selling their new album in 300 copies? NO. So that is a reason why we all need the cds to make the big dirty job still and leave vinyls for what their target was set to since 15 years: to full-fill a niche market of people still in love with the format and the record collectors.

(pictured: customers outside Van Records offices protesting for Devils Blood LP 24 hours delay on scheduled release time. Ah those Germans!)