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.


  1. Well said DH, but surely the simple act of producing an edition of a record for which the demand is bound to exceed the supply is the embodiment of greed in the first place?

  2. No, I don't think it is. I shouldn't think Paul Weller makes much money out of this and he doesn't get any of the mark-up that's put on the price when somebody sells a copy on.

  3. Try and be consistently 'limited edition' like me and you'd say fuck all about anything. You'd suck off a tout to overprice one of your records. Anyway....beautifully and eloquently put as always David, unlike my potty mouth analysis.

  4. As a former genuine fan of so many turns who now probably own more trout lakes than is good for them, I do just that. I pass by on the other side. I have all the limited editions and hens teeth I need. I pay nothing, or next to nothing, for my music these days; in stark contrast to days gone by when I spent all my disposable income on vinyl.

  5. Genuine Fan7:21 am

    I really couldn't have put it better.

    The people selling on ebay are the result of a limited release of 500 records on the busiest day of the year.

    Press 5k not 500 records and you wouldn't see more than 10 copies on ebay.

    BTW its his wife driving the statement it would appear - her twitter timeline is a classic example of missing the bigger picture.

    The one exception being the employee from Townend records she highlighted, who was selling stuff on ebay prior to the shops being open. Giving his email address as wasn't the brightest idea he's ever had.

  6. Surely if the idea was to support independent record stores, then it is the distribution, not the number of records, which should be limited. In other words, press thousands, but make them only available through the independents. The "genuine fans" will then make the effort to go to their nearest, whether it's weeks or months later, to buy their copy. The records remain available to those prepared to make the effort. Everybody wins.

  7. Rubbish, said from someone who wasn't stood in the firing line. People in queue in my local record store were listing the releases on Ebay from their phones before they bought them. PW was right. There was no profit to be made on such a limited run even if they had got into the right hands, so that's a bit of a pants argument!

  8. Pops star protests are one of my favourite spectator sports - Prince's 'Slave' motif being a highlight..

  9. Genuine Fan7:21 pm

    Mike - not sure I understand your point

    Would those same people be listing the records if supply was more than demand ?

    If everyone had the chance of a copy - they they wouldn't sell for anything more than the shop price

  10. Record shops were only ever great because the music was. It doesn't work the other way around.

  11. If I thought I would have had a chance of getting anyone of the records, let alone the one I really wanted,I might have tried to get along. Make it an unlimited release, but only available from the shops, I would go and buy lots.

    Last time in a record shop I spent £60 on vinyl....

  12. Of course, your collusion in the black market for the full-length 'App Only' Word podcasts, completely undermines your position here. How I wish I hadn't deleted them, but at the time the disc space seemed more important.

    However, I'm sure Fraser has a full back-up, and just as soon as I'll finished milking all these platypuses. Then just add rennet, and in just six months I'll have a foodstuff so obscure that he won't be able to resist the temptation. Mwah ha ha!