Numerogroup's Rob Sevier Shows Analogplanet "The Dark Side"

Yes, I apologized for my over the top reaction to Rob Sevier's The Wire story. Had you told me after I'd read it that he and his partner ran a vinyl record label, you could have knocked me over with an MP3.

I continue to believe the story was not effectively written and certainly could easily leave the wrong impression and I continue to think the editor's opening paragraph was cynical, unnecessary and inappropriate, but the bottom line is we are all on the same page.

Mr. Sevier did not apologize for his Amazing Randi response to me, nor was an apology necessary or appropriate. I stirred up the crap, not he.

However, the other day he sent me a link to a story that absolutely shocked, disgusted and amazed me. He said about the link "This is the dark side." And he's not exaggerating.

Never in my wildest vinyl collecting fetish dreams did I imagine there were people who "flip" vinyl the way others "flip" houses or trade stocks. But there are.


What a lame commodity to which to pay such attention. This is not the same as people who buy, sell, trade and collect on Ebay and say, find collectibles at garage sales and sell them. That's fine. This is about a kind of programmed speculation like currency trading. That is what the Wire story was alluding to but didn't quite grip the bat and swing away, which is what led to my ire.

In another email, Mr. Sevier said of the story he wrote "My original intent of the article (and I think this was accomplished to some degree) was to counter the seemingly endless stream of "vinyl is making a comeback" articles published in every possible publication over the last decade. We actually say in our essay that vinyl is the definitive physical medium… it's difficult to find one of these "vinyl is making a comeback" articles that would go anywhere near that far. Because they are talking about a fad, we are talking about something permanent."

Honestly, I know his vinyl heart is in the right place but i do not understand being upset by stories proclaiming that vinyl has made a comeback, nor do I see them as boosting faddism. You may see it as does Mr. Sevier.

In any case, I hope we've put the animosity to rest and I am glad to have become informed about vinyl speculators and "flipping". I too think it's the "dark side."

Stephen Mejias's picture

Andrew Earles' Vice story is part of an ongoing series. Here's the first part.

mauidj's picture

Bravo Michael.

I am so happy to read that you have seen fit to reasses your feelings and response to the the wired article.

It takes a big man to do so in such a public forum.

I agree that the piece had some flaws but I also read into it a lot of truths. I for one have been growing a bit tired of the unending rereleases of Kind of blue and other such classics. All these OTT boxed sets do nothing to add to the music or its intent. They do seem to be praying on the needs and gullibility of many of the vinyl collectors/investors out there.Even worse are the so called analog remasters that are in fact digital copies of dubious provenance.

But thanks to you and your research much of this chaff can be separated from the wheat before spending the big bucks on less than stellar reissues.

Just like the collector car business, vinyl is now becoming an investment commodity where the well healed play to the detriment of the true hobbyist. It's a sad situation but what you gonna do about it!

Thank you for your stewardship of this wonderful hobby. I for one would be less informed and more burdened with crap recordings if it were not for you.


Billf's picture

I agree. There's too much nastiness and lack of civility floating around. No need for it to permeate this vinyl fixation we all so enjoy. Thanks for backing off; not many would be big enough to do so.

Michael Fremer's picture

I think you've picked a poor example! Yes, I've mine and you've got yours, but an all analog Kind of Blue has been out of print for some time now. Classic's reissue is out of print and long in the tooth and guess what? Copies are now going for big bucks on Ebay.


Why? You know why! Because it's a classic record that will never date. As new vinyl folks join us they want a good all analog copy so I welcome Mobile Fidelity's coming reissue of KOB!

As for digitally sourced vinyl when a good analog tape is available, well I have problems there too...

Paul Boudreau's picture

So reselling LPs is bad behavior?  Meaning that the folks selling OOP Classic Record titles on eBay for lots more than they cost when they were in print are terrible people?  I don't get it - no one's forcing anyone to buy them.

akovo's picture

It's not OOP titles we're talking about here. The titles are brand new, very limited releases meant to appeal to a devoted fan base. It seems that this group of speculators is buying up the bulk of these releases and then charging whatever they want for them.

It would be like a group of scalpers getting organized enough to buy out all the tickets for a small, but highly hyped show, agreeing to set the price at whatever number they choose, and then fleecing the folks who actually want to see the show. 

What the speculators are doing might not be illegal, but it's not good karma either. It doesn't sit very well with me. This dude does not abide.

Paul Boudreau's picture

Got it.  However, once all copies of a particular release are sold, to whomever, the manufacturer/distributor's job is done, really.  Not that I'm a fan of the greedheads out there - I wanted a copy of that Jack White record with the liquid in it, simply because I like crazy, oddball vinyl, but there was no way I was going to pay what eBay resellers were asking.  Too bad - I survived the blow and moved on.

Michael Fremer's picture

I didn't writer any such thing Paul and I'm not sure the VICE author meant that either....

Paul Boudreau's picture

"Flipping" is reselling LPs in this context, isn't it?  Many are critical of it, which is what I was referring to.  My question would be when is it flipping and when isn't it, since it doesn't seem to refer to all record reselling.  Just semantics, no biggie.

MrRom92's picture

I have noticed for a long time that the vinyl buying and collecting public is split into (at least) 3 very different camps.




a 3rd group which I struggle to define. Let's just call them hipsters, even though this is not an all encompassing term, nor is it the correct one. It's late, I'm tired, and can't come up with anything better at the moment. Let's just get over that before I get flamed for the poor word choice and move on. This group is basically people into new popular and independant music and new pressings moreso than vintage. They may have a decent turntable, they may not. They are in it mainly for the music, or at least a love and appreciation for the music, but not necesserally it's sound. 


All of these groups are blissfully unaware of what goes on within the other. Common practices and customs. New releases. Major events or common knowledge within each community. All are wildly segregated within their own communities. This is down to age differences, taste differences, even regional differences. The segregation can run so deep that each can have labels, mastering engineers and facilities, even vinyl pressing lants that are generally not known by the other "groups"



Flipping has long been a huge problem within the "hipster" crowd.

If the album is not being presed by a major label, and you don't purchase it right away, you simply are not going to be able to purchase a copy.

I guarantee you will not have any trouble finding a copy of the new Justin Timberlake record in 5 years time. Meanwhile, there are plenty of records that came out less than a year ago which can't be had for less than $100.

Raising prices is not the answer, and pressing more isn't the answer either. There really is no easy way to combat the problem.


My comment isn't about this though. Just wanted to share something interesting I've found over the past few years. I think I'm a rare breed that somehow manages to have musical interests varied enough to find myself a part of all three, or at least knowledgable in regards to them. It does surprise me that you haven't heard of the flipping problem Michael, but not entirely. The amount of truly new recordings you review shows where your musical interests lay, and that of course is fine. Just please realize that remasterings of the Young Rascals hits comps, or $60 audiophile reissues aren't exactly the type of release this happens to. While this phenomena is sickening, it isn't likely to affect your listening habits anytime soon.

Michael Fremer's picture

I listen to more new music than you are aware of. I do review many reissues because readers want to know whether they should spend large sums on buying again their favorite records.....but I'll get more reviews up of new music.....

Jody's picture

Don't blame the flipper, blame the labels releasing limited edition things, which they know they could sell large quantities of. (Jack White, are you listening? Of course not.)

Sometimes small labels have no idea ahead of time that a particular record will be popular and in demand. So they press limited quanitites, of course. Can't blame them. But then there are the others, Jack White's Third Man Records is an easy example, but there are others.

Why are they doing this? Economics 101 involves supply& demand...why press 300 of a record, when you know you can sell 10,000?  The labels aren't making the big bucks... once the 300 are sold, they get no more money. But the flippers rake in the big bucks. It doesn't have to be this way. This isn't rocket science...

In the end, the fans of these bands lose.

And there's another way to combat this. RE-PRESS some of these records! It should become obvious to the labels when something is out of print, and in demand... unless they are completely out of touch with their fan base.

AndrewWilliams's picture

I haven't seen this one yet. But this is kinda intriguing though. I will watch this if i have time. - Casa Sandoval

joegator81's picture

This really was my point when i defended part of the baseball card analogy article from wire. It is the release of limited editions that is going to sour people.

The dave matthews band vinyl release on record store day was extremely limited even knowing there would be a HUGE demand for it by fans and the very same day listings for $150 to $500 could be found on ebay.

Really annoying.