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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

You don't have to get sucked into the Fake Rarity Roadshow

Unhappy with the way his limited edition records were on sale on eBay before National Record Store Day 2014 was even over, Paul Weller says he won't be taking part in future. In his statement he contrasts "greedy touts" with "genuine fans". 

Fair enough, if that's what he wants to do, but surely the simple act of producing an edition of a record for which the demand is bound to exceed the supply guarantees this kind of thing is going to happen. If you make something rare you increase the value of it and somebody is bound to try to realise that value.

When he refers to "greedy touts" I suppose we're meant to conjure up visions of fat blokes in knock-off Burberry smoking five cigarettes while peeling off fifties from a bundle big enough to choke a donkey.

When he refers to "genuine fans" we're supposed to picture Tiny Tim lookalikes pressing their noses against record shop windows while clutching their carefully pinched pennies in their hands.

I'm not sure I buy any of this. I don't believe there's any way of judging the "genuineness" of fans. What does that mean? Length of service? Degree of disengagement from normal society? Age? Wealth?

Plus I suspect some of these "greedy touts" are also the "genuine fans". They're doing a bit of the former in order to subsidise some of the latter.

There's only one way to avoid being exploited in the Fake Rarity Roadshow. Don't take part. Pass by on the other side. Go and do something else. There are plenty of other ways to support your local record shop. That applies whether you're a performer or a genuine fan. Or even a fair-weather fan like me.