The Stupidest Article Ever Written About Vinyl (by two guys running a vinyl label) !

Please read the stupidest article ever written about the vinyl resurgence published online by The Wire. Two shmendricks, Rob Sevier and Ken Shipley attempt to compare the vinyl resurgence to baseball cards. Worse, the Wire's editor, clearly a bigger shmendrick introduces the article thusly:

"The recent boom in vinyl merely reflects business’s desire to extract maximum commodity value from ‘manufactured rarities’."

In other words, these putzes think the business not record fans are driving the resurgence.

True, there's an element of the Record Store Day phenomenon that trades upon limited edition RSD-only vinyl but that's not a driver of the vinyl resurgence. It's a tiny sideshow.

These clowns suggest you buy any old version of Nirvana's Nevermind and then in the part that will have you hurling lunch, they seem to pay homage to Scorpio Music. Scorpio ????? Among the most egregious purveyors of vinyl garbage?

What's saddest of all is that these guys are running what appears to be a very interesting vinyl archival label filled with interesting titles. Why they have to crap on the rest of the marketplace remains a mystery.

Read for yourself:Collateral Damage: Numero Group on the vinyl bubble

RobWynn's picture

While the statement about what has driven the recent boom is wrong... I think it should more accurately be replaced with "Many major lables attempts to cash in on the vinyl boom reflects...".

As for your reaction to Scorpio and Nirviana, I think you may have missed their point. On Scorpio, they are bemoaning the quality of Scorpio and sorry that people buy them since they are reasonable priced and readily available: 

Scorpio finds itself in an enviable position for capitalising on the post-IKEA generation’s interest in buying something physical – no matter its quality – at a cost nearly equal to that of a full album download.

And about Nirvana, they are just calling for more normal non-Scorpio vinyl:

Anyone should be able to walk into any record store in the world and buy a standard vinyl copy of Nevermind for a reasonable price, rather than confronting the 180 gram pressing or the deluxe quadruple LP that fishes for their cash from a lofty wall display.

... although I do believe the Nirvana catalog is soon to come out as single titles in non-180g non-colored vinyl.

In conclusion, I see the thesis of the article as a call for more regular weight, quality single-title vinyl at a reasonable price, instead of the 10+ LP mega-sets, heavy-weight vinyl, and novetly records (Jack White's Third Man Records comes to mind) which can make records seems like a circus event, which I can't say I disagree with.

But you can also read into this a critique of the buyers of music.  If someone isn't interested in a flexi-disc sent off in a balloon by Jack White then it woudln't go for over $1000 (it takes two to tango), and if some people cared about the music more than being hip (and there is definitely this segment in any pop fad which vinyl is to a degree at the moment in pop culture) then they wouldn't buy the Scorpio music and the Crosley turntables from Restoration Hardware.

Michael Fremer's picture

Look at how the story was constructed: first the editor makes a cynical and ridiculous assertion that the vinyl resurgence is being driven by the record companies to "cash in". That is absolutely untrue. The vinyl resurgence is being driven by consumer demand for records.

The authors hang their story on a bogus analogy to baseball cards and their crash. There currently is NOT a "vinyl bubble" and the market is not likely to crash. 

While it is true that the labels can now perhaps be accused of manipulating the market with "limited edition" Record Store Day releases, they are also issuing some great stuff that is not being released because they expect to make a "killing". 

I mean issuing the MONO of Van Dyke Parks' <i>Song Cycle</i>? That was an enthusiast's choice not a marketer's choice. I'm glad the labels are doing this.

Yes, there may be some speculators out there lining up early on Record Store Day but I'd like to believe most of the people lining up are FANS not speculators. 

If these guys wanted to make the point that speculation in records is foolish because there might be a bust, fine but the LYNCHPIN of their story was the baseball card analogy and sorry but that's bogus.

Why even mention Scorpio? They produced garbage. They were lauding not criticizing Scorpio for issuing reasonably priced vinyl as if 'vinyl' is some kind of indistinguishable commodity. They are encouraging people to buy CRAP.

If someone wants a really good copy of "Nevermind" they will have to pay for it, mastered from the original tapes all analog. Yes the 4 LP box set it a crock, so SAY SO and leave it at that. Should people be able to buy a 120g version of "Nevermind"? Yes, fine, so say so, but unless it's mastered from the tape or pressed from the same metal parts that were so well done for the 180 version, what's the point?

The cost of producing a good reissue is high so the labels press on 180g and issue "Tip On" jackets to up their margins. I have no problem with that and the buyer gets a truly high quality product.

The problem with that article is that it was ill-focused, filled with faux facts and made no cogent points. In other words it was STUPID AND POINTLESS.

Zardoz's picture

I guess I read it as something in between. I see both points in it, but overall I see it as an over simplification of the LP market. Kind of like the blind man describing an elephant by touching it's leg. I think most people are purchasing LPs for the music, not for the possible price of resell. There are definitely collectors out there, and there are people who enjoy bragging about the "rare" LPs they have, but I think even most of the braggers don't really worry about the value of the collection, they just want to enjoy the music while they can.

LPs probablly will go away at some point, and then what their worth will be, only time will tell, like any collectible. And that day could be close if DSD manages to fulfill it's promise of analogue sound quaility, but we have been lead on by digital before, so I'm not holding my breath. In the mean time, I for one would like to be able to walk into a store and purchase a good quaility, not necessarily awesome quaility, album for $12 (probably too much to ever hope for) without having to purchase a deluxe package that's $75, but even at a $25 price, I'll purchase it over a digital copy, although I won't purchase as many.

Prices will probablly remain high just due to volume, but 180 gram vinyl is a plus that I think is worth it. Even if everything doesn't need 180 gram vinyl, for the slight difference in cost between standard vinyl and 180 gram vinyl, why not go with 180? It simplifies production so more titles can be released. The LP "revival" should be praised, no matter what form it's in. The market place will decide if the "carnival acts" have any value. They are by no means the driving force of the resurgence of vinyl.


Michael Fremer's picture

5 1968 dollars are about 35 2013 dollars. Keep that in mind as you consider the possibilities of $12 LPs. I regularly paid $5 or so for records back in 1968. 

daveming80's picture

That's right, $5. Every Friday:  straight to the record ship (circa 1970).

I really enjoy my Sundazed mono copy of 'Bringing It All Back Home".  Analog, sounds very good.  Under $20.  Like my favorite bottle of wine:  delicious and under $20.

And how it should be.  I don't know how these labels like Sundazed do it.  But if a record company is putting out a product of at least good quality that sounds good, I don't care what the company's motives are - you deserve my money, because your product has value.

(But It was a dumb article.  When the opening paragraph is just bogus, you're in trouble.)

Paul Boudreau's picture

$11 records - wouldn't it be nice?  I think maybe those guys are ignoring the effects of inflation and the loss of economies of scale.

Flashy Vinyl/Packaging - There is a lot of it out there today but it's not really anything new.  See "The Beatles" (1968) or Dave Mason's "Alone Together" (1970).

I think a real determinant of the duration of the "vinyl resurgence" is whether younger buyers truly enjoy records for what they are or they see it as a hipster fad (fads always fade, sooner or later).


homersoddishe's picture

I took the article to say vinyl should be for everybody because music is for everybody.  Everybody is releasing boutiqe label style LP's at boutique label prices without boutique label sonics or attention to detail.  They're doing so as a money grab and I'm sure the higher prices don't reflect higher margins for the artists themselves.  Not unless it's an indie project like Nine Inch Nails.  The latest Alice in Chains album is available on vinyl only as a $60 double picture disc!  Looks like I'll be getting the shitty CD. 

Michael Fremer's picture

Was that really their point? If it was they would have stated that in the first paragraph. Go back and read that graph. It was written by the Wire editor who asserted that the vinyl resurgence is being led by the record business. That's 100% false.

The story was poorly written in impenetrable "pseudo-academic" prose and based upon the baseball analogy. That was their opening. Openers generally deliver the thrust of the story with what follows being back up.

In this case, their back up was amorphous and illogical. But their lead paragraph and the headline make clear the main point.

Stephen Mejias's picture

I enjoyed the Wire article. I should mention that I'm a regular reader of The Wire and my favorite Wire column is "Collateral Damage." And I think I'm a fairly typical Wire reader, with an intense curiosity of new underground, experimental music, and interest in trends in digital media and the intersection between music and other artforms. "Collateral Damage" attempts to address the ways in which our listening habits influence music and the industry.

In my opinion, the lead to this article doesn't tell the whole story. There are plenty of labels releasing good and truly affordable music, and it would be cynical and unfortunate to assume they're all just trying "to extract maximum commodity value from 'manufactured rarities'." On the other hand, the lead does tell part of the story. I can't count the number of times I've felt compelled to spend money on a release simply because I knew it was limited to 300 units, and if I didn't buy it immediately, it would be gone. And, if not entirely gone, it would be selling on eBay for five times as much. And, if not entirely gone, it would be reissued a year later, but without the fancy packaging and colored vinyl. Etcetera.

Remember that much of the vinyl I want to buy does come from very small labels and those releases are very often extremely limited. I'm not talking one or two thousand copies; I'm talking one or two hundred copies. This is something with which the typical Wire reader is too familiar. So, I take the editor's point.

Finally, in my opinion, the heart of the article comes at the end:

Creating a sustainable vinyl marketplace is going to require more than picture discs, record store days, speculators and coffee-table LPs. Labels and artists should be making viable, well crafted and thoughtfully packaged releases that earn their bin longevity, are by no means limited, and don’t cost arms, legs or bodily fluids. Buyers in the 90s baseball card boom convinced themselves they were sitting on cardboard gold. New goal: convince young buyers of vinyl that the value of their purchases comes out of speakers, not out of auction sites. After all, it’s just a piece of vinyl.

I just can't argue with that. In fact, I think it's an outstanding perspective, admirably expressed. I wholeheartedly agree. The point is the music, not the format and certainly not the packaging.

And I collected those Upper Deck baseball cards, too. A lot of good that did me.

Michael Fremer's picture

Thanks for the comment Stephen, but as a very good writer you know that their conclusion really should have been their opening paragraph. And of course I agree with it.

And then they could have gone into the baseball card analogy as a warning to speculators.

But they led with the baseball card analogy and your lead paragraph is supposed to signal your lead and most important point.

The editor's opening was cynical and unsupported by the facts.

The story itself was poorly written and almost free of simple declarative sentences as if halting, comma dense prose is somehow "authoratative."

The story lacked focus, drive, logic and a basic point! Though the final excerpt you posted was very good.

I will stick with my assessment: stupidest vinyl story ever.

Tullman's picture

I agree with Mikey here. The baseball card analogy was stupid. Most people buy records for the sound and the music. I don't see many of the new releases being collectable, expecially if vinyl buyers lose interest in the future.

mauroj's picture

I also agree with Mikey. This is article is extremely pessimistic and inaccurate to say the least. There are collectors and consumers in every market, as well as some who are both. However, in the vinyl market, the consumers who are asking for quality are the driving force, not speculators. I am quilty of buying a vinyl collectors edition of Radiohead's brilliant In Rainbows before I even had a turntable. Since I now have a rather nice setup, it gets the second most playing time, next to my 180 Gram, 2 LP, 45 RPM, Reissue of Rumours, which sounds fantastic.

What really bothers me about the article is that there is almost no mention of the quality vinyl issuers out there and the costs associated with pressing these discs now compared to 30 years ago when there were plants all over the world. Inflation and pricing is reflected in this, and therefore, the author of this article is an ignorant, sensationalist, pedantic fool.

ejmcjr's picture

I agree with Mike that they do seem to point to record labels as the genesis of the "hype" around vinyl's resurgence and I agree with him that they missed the bus on that point. Record collectors love the packaging, the artwork, the improved fidelity and hopefully the music.  So record companies give us what we want.  Remastered, repackaged and really cool reissues on 180 gram vinyl.  Their cynicism seems focussed on what we feel these special releases will someday be worth.  Like the gold leaf embossed Sammy Sosa card we once believed would be the bedrock of our retirement or the Jerry Garcia tie dyed beanie baby, these novelty releases are far from investment grade.  Buy the album because it is beautiful, gives you pleasure or you think it's cool.  Don't buy it hoping it will one day be more valuable. 

John C Freeman's picture

Yes the baseball card analogy is really Lame.  I do not know if it is the stupidest article ever wriiten about vinyl.  Ever is one of those words that is really tough to prove.  Somebody, somewhere probalby has written a stupidier article, we just do not know about it.  The resurgance of vinyl will be far more dependant on the newer generation of turntables that have decent quality at reasonable price (see ProJect Carbon).  That will make the Vinyl market grow even faster.  The records (software) will take care of itself, since they usually sound better than the other formats readily available in the marketplace.

Jim Tavegia's picture

I just can't imagine writing a story and not doing extensive research. I was the City Editor of my college paper and the 5 Ws and the H still apply. It might also not hurt to find out if there are any living experts in the field. 

I wonder if they even bothered to Google "turntables" or "vinyl lp's"?  That might have kept them busy for a while. 

Thanks, Michael, for keeping up the fight. 

jesuswept's picture

The authors of the article run Numero Records, which is probably the most respected reissue label operating today.  So yeah, I think they know what turntables are.

Stephen Mejias's picture

Yes. Exactly. Thank you.

And the authors of the article are not looking at the issue from an audiophile perspective. They're looking at the issue from a business perspective, with the idea that a truly healthy industry will best serve the true music lover.

I've seen a few comments here that refer to the authors of the piece as arrogant. The authors want to better serve the true music lover.  The authors want young listeners to learn to treat music as music, rather than as a commodity.

How is that arrogant?

To criticize them for this is misguided. 

Michael Fremer's picture

I think they are self-loathing. And I am not sure I can agree with your unsupported assertion.

transloveairways's picture

Though the article spins a negative on the state of vinyl stability, does the reader really care? Most likely not. The majority of most vinyl collectors, young or old, will dismiss any relevance to whether an album comes out 180 grams and or has a hefty price tag. The important thing is that it's cool to have new bands (and labels) considering the value of being on vinyl. The more the merrier! If you want to pay for something you really pay it! i think most vinyl lovers will acquire what they want and find it at the price they want to pay (I mean that's what the art of collecting is all about).

As far as it going out of style (being in a bubble), ridiculous, it has had staying power for over 100 years! Where is it going to go?

No matter the article, what is great is that people are still talking and are passionate about vinyl.

poldolo's picture

Given the kind of music main focus of The Wire, and a few other details, I *totally* agree with "The recent boom in vinyl merely reflects business’s desire to extract maximum commodity value from ‘manufactured rarities’."

Actually, I keep on repeating it myself all the time. Otherwise, how would you explain new recordings of new music coming out, in 2013!, *only* in vinyl - or even only cassette!!! - format? It's simply insane.

Carl Sampson's picture

How much money can one really make from marketing limited edition LP's?  After you factor the cost of obtaining the licensing / royalties, the cost of artwork, the cost of mastering, the cost of manufacturing and packaging, the markdown for the distributor, the markdown for the retailer how much money is left?  You then take that amount and multiply it by a small number like 1,500 or 2,500 and you get a number that doesn't sound like great riches.

poldolo's picture

Given the sheer amount of "piracy" in some markets, the difference is between zero and *anything* larger than zero. And please, don't tell me it's about sound quality: among the "average" readers of The Wire, the fraction consistently able to play vinyl with an overall source quality hiigher than say, a 96/24 on a PC + 2K € converter, is *minuscule*. Those people have a fetish for those things, I can understand that, which the vendors exploit. And again it's mostly about "piracy", in case isn't clear already, otherwise, again, why release new music *only* in vinyl and often only in *cassette* (!) format?!? To get a better perspective on the whole issue, for a moment don't focus only on vinyl, focus on Philips cassettes too, those really tell you something about the economics, sociology, etc, of the issue.

Martin's picture

Wire seems normally a fun read. But in this case they screwed up. So I thought most effective is write to them. Here's what I wrote.

They request an email address for comments, so they have mine. Let's see if they write back  smiley


Your guys have missed the point. Bad article.

Driving the vinyl resurgence is first and foremost the sound. That decent vinyl sounds better than commercial digital. In general, an old LP from '50s, '60's or '70s will sound - on a reasonably competently set up turntable - far better than it's digital remaster, be that CD or download.

A problem with modern vinyl is that some labels are attempting to cash in by simply transferring CD quality digital files to vinyl. This sounds like a CD. Bad. The article missed this.

Driving the resurgence originally was a few small companies servicing a niche market. It grew from there.

What the article also got wrong or possibly through sheer ignorance of the writers, is that many of the reissues from quality labels are going back to the original analog master tapes, transferring them to vinyl on equipment far more advanced than was available in the 50's or 60's. The result of this is that many of these reissues in fact sound better than even the originals do. Recent Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Rolling Stones, Miles Davis, etc., reissues are a case in point.

That's what is driving the vinyl boom. The major labels wrote vinyl off for dead. They had zero interest for years. It is only recently they have realized there is money in there - hence the glut of funky reissues.

There is a lot of good stuff there, you simply have to educate yourself a little.

The article was, unfortunately, ignorant, arrogant and uninformed.


jesuswept's picture

I hope you haven't sent that letter yet.  Because audiophile reissues of Elvis records and the like have almost nothing to do with the vinyl boom. 

usernaim250's picture

You say sound is driving the market, and yet note that many labels are just putting CD on vinyl. Outside of the pages of Stereophile, you'll see that most reissues are indifferently mastered and poorly pressed (at United and Rainbo), often with major flaws like non-fill. The idea of good sound may be part of the vinyl resurgence, but most vinyl buyers never even get a chance to buy the best sounding stuff from Music Matters, MoFi, ORG, Cisco, and Speakers Corner etc., because those labels don't even make it into most record stores and most folks have no idea who Acoustic Sounds and Music Direct are.

TommyTunes's picture

Sorry to disagree with you Michael but I completely agree with the article.  One thing I’ve learned over the years is that “Limited Edition” is the kiss of death in terms of value.  Like you, I’ve been collecting for 45 years.  I’m not a fool and understand that everything is more expensive today but we are now witnessing prices that are just plain silly the $25 premium pressing of 2000 is now $50.  Reissues of Rhino titles are now $25 and everything is a numbered limited edition.


Have you stood on line on RSD only to find that your local record store received two copies of an item and there are 12 fans on line that want that record?  Yes, Scorpio is perhaps the worst reissue label in the world, using crappy vinyl and CD’s to create their product but at least it’s affordable to most newbies.  Do you really think that the vast majority of people buying records are using turntables, cartridges or phono preamps that do justice to a good sounding record?


I visit record stores on a weekly basis both locally and when I travel and I can tell you that most of the folks buying vinyl are playing them on either old tables with cartridges that haven’t been changed in years (after all, a diamond is forever) or on one of the slew of tables that are stocked by the local store and that retail for less than $150.


At the other end of the spectrum you have the die hard collector that is driving the market for used LP to highs that will eventually have the same effect as the dot com bubble.  Nobody wants the reasonably priced A2/B2 pressing now it has to be A1/B1 or nothing and they are paying astronomical prices for them.  Ten years ago if you found a “Pink Island” Traffic LP, it was a nice score now it has to be an eyeball pink island because the “i” version is oh so common.


I would enjoy nothing more than seeing a WalMart with the record department like Korvettes used to have, but those days are long gone.  Young people discovering records will eventually move on and older folks rediscovering LP’s will come to realize that it’s too much money and effort.


As the article points out what we are witnessing is the small but still functioning side of the music industry trying to make a last grab for cash from the few remaining folks who love music as primary source of entertainment and not as an aural distraction while they play a video game.

mysticisgod's picture

I feel exactly the same way. The article was just stating what is happening NOW with the record companies starting to take advantage of the increases in vinyl sales and creating these limited editions and over the last 3-4 years prices have increased generally $5-10 or more. For example the new LP by Daft Punk is $34.99 which is crazy and that is Columbia Records taking advantage and greedy, same goes for the new QOTSA on Matador is $40. These are both priced from my local store which have some of the best prices in my city.... But than you have labels like Sub Pop, SST, Dischord, Jagjagwar are doing it right by keeping their prices in the $14 - 18 and for me, this is where every single LP should be with 2LP being a few dollars more.

warpig's picture

1st off I am not that great with the written word. 

I still have all of my vinyl starting from around 1975.  I am not a rich man and I work hard for my money.  I do realize that the companies producing vinyl also work hard for there money and I am thankful for that.

But the price of some of these records is getting out of hand.  2 of them come to mind the new Alice In Chains 60 dollars are they serious.  Then Queens Of The Stone Age 50 dollars really 50 dollars.  Frankly I hope NO ONE buys them.  Nothing against the bands.

From what I have been reading and something I am concerned about is the quality of the source of some of the records.  Companies using cds as the master.  There is no guarantee on the quality of the record that you get. 

I know its a business and they need to stay profitable.  On my side I love music and always played vinyl.  But pricing in my opinion is getting out of hand just to listen to music.  Is it worth it to me to listen to a record at 5 times the price of listening to it on a cd?

Record companies are scaring away the young generation who cannot afford these prices.  Also the average Joe who if pricing was lower may get a vinyl setup steers clear.  Is vinyl becoming for lack of a better word a rich man’s game.  Is it becoming cool to say hey I have a vinyl setup?  Instead of really enjoying what it has to offer.

Oh well I guess I will go pull out my 18 dollar AC/DC record and just be happy.  :-)


Michael Fremer's picture

Yes. 60 dollars is a rip-off. There is no excuse for that whatsoever and I too hope no one buys them---nothing against the bands.

On the other hand, most indie band vinyl issues cost under $20.00

As with every phenemenon, charlatans and sharks get involved.

warpig's picture

One more thing.  Thanks Black Sabbath for a 25 dollar double album. laugh

Yogamarc's picture

I admit, if it's special, limited, colored, signed, etc. I get excited. I love the packaging, the vinyl itself and the connection I feel to the music and the artist. I don't mind spending a little more when I feel it supports a band or artist I admire. I do get annoyed with the idea that 5000 copies is somehow limited but I often buy because I like the music and the total package of the product. I go to record store day because I like what's being released and want to own it on vinyl. None of this is done to make a profit on the record or "flip" it on an auction site. These objects are not like baseball cards to me. They represent a passion I have for music and in many ways they document different parts of myself in a physical way. The ceremony surrounding the playing, cleaning and storage are all part of the mystique. They are frustrating at times and hurt my wallet. Maybe I'm a sucker for paying to have the signed box set but if the goal is to love what you've paid for rather than make an investment every time, then I'm perfectly happy. I know I'm not alone and if I represent even a small segment of the many who love the vinyl format, it's going to live on for a long, long time.

nnck's picture

This is certailnly one of the studpidest editorials on an article about vinyl I have ever read.

Calling something "The Stupidest Article Ever Written About Vinyl..." Now that is stupid! (notice I didnt make the same mistake).

Shows a lack of understanding of the target audience for the article. As much as I wouldn't go to The Wire for information about stereo equipment or hi-end gear, this is why I wouldnt go to Stereophile or it's associated publications for infomation on experimental, outsider, or cutting edge music or the people who are passionate about these things.

This is about music collectors having CHOICES. Sure, many of us are willing to pay a premium for extra-limited edition, lavish packaging for some of our favorite artists. But the authors are making the point that vinyl seems to be moving slowly into the luxury-item domain. How about more reasonably priced, standard editions for collectors who LOVE MUSIC.

orthobiz's picture

I'm having fun with vinyl. So are my kids. Sales last year were what, less than 2 million? Jack White hitting a high of 34,000 copies? Clearly we are in a niche market when you consider how gold records used to abound. The target audience for this article when intersected with me is the null set. And the Venn diagrams look like two vinyl records that don't overlap.

I credit Mr. Michael Fremer for carrying the torch and keeping the flame alive through the darkness. Let us not get hurt feelings as we embrace the light!



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joegator81's picture

I certainly don't see it as the "record industry" (not even sure what that is anymore exactly) driving the demand.

Also, i have never bought a record as an investment. I bought it because either a) i love the music b) it was audiophile or c) both of the above. I may have purchased expensive and rare reissues (i.e. jennifer warnes famous blue raincoat) but i have no desire to resale it for a profit. Its a keeper.

Where i see a difference between baseball cards and vinyl is that vinyl has a use. People can sit down and listen to it. The enjoy coming from a baseball card is much more limited therefore driving sales seems to be much about creating a collector scene.

That being said, RSD has become a major sore point for me because it does remind me of those days of my youth back in 1994 when i couldnt afford to by Spawn #10 (comic book) because the dealer had it priced at $15 the day it was released when the cover said $2. Now, before i get spanked suggesting that dealers are jacking prices on RSD, that is not exactly what i'm saying. In the case of comic books and baseball cards, the prices were driven up by the dealers when sometimes the supply really wasnt all that limited ($10+ for a pack of upper deck). But limited comics were created specifically for the collectors who would pay rediculous upmarket prices. Where I see a problem is creating special limited editions for RSD (i.e. the Dave Matthews Band Live Trax) and creating rediculously high demand and super limited supply where the average fan can not get there hands on one. The result of this is that some dealers will keep a copy for themselves (mine did) to possibly sell later and for a profit (i am not accusing my dealer of this). The very next day after RSD you could find these Dave Matthews discs for rediculous prices on the internet. Whether these were being sold by dealers who held on to them or by speculators who were lucky i cannot say but it leaves a sour, bitter taste.

All i want is for these popular and scarce RSD discs to have some sort of unlimited release later on (like the Mad Season release). I think that would go a long way towards good faith and would certainly put a cavornous gap between the authors baseball card analogy and reality.

Record Graffiti's picture

Michael, unfortunately, I think your response to the article comes across more boorish even than the Numero editorial. I've sold new LP's for 20 years, everything from Scorpio to Acoustic Sounds, and I think Numero makes a very important point. 

Scorpio was a great company to have around in the 90's and they met a demand in the market place that was TOTALLY ignored by both the Major Labels and the Audiophile Industry. (They still are meeting that demand, so many reissue Sony LP's were available from Scorpio in the 2000's for $4 cost brand new, now Sony has repressed most of those LP's for themselves at $12 cost and up)

Michael, remember when you were young and your first years of buying, I'm sure you did not always buy the best pressed LP's nor did you always have outrageously expensive equipment to play them on.

10-15 years ago, the majority of records pressed in the USA were Dance and Urban singles, a market that with the advent of digital DJing has severely diminished. Scorpio was at the time meeting a demand in the market, and planting the seeds for this vinyl resurgence to happen. Scorpio made it possible for a young kid to walk into a record store and buy Iggy and the Stooges "Raw Power" for $8 brand new. For so many of the next generation of music lovers out there, buying cheap reissues of rare LPs from Scorpio was godsend. Numero were nominated for two Grammy awards for a giant box set (Syl Johnson Anthology) for a record that that was for years available from Scorpio as a $6 reissue. This was awesome for this unmet, ignored, burgeoning market, and I sold boxes of that record over the years (Is It Because I'm Black?) not because it was well mastered or pressed or had chip on covers, but because the music was great, and the original LP was impossible to find. 

Steven Parleman's attention to this market was so integral to any of the shops I worked in, we would to do thousands of dollars of business with him every month. This went on from the late 90's when I first became a buyer until today. He always knew, from talking to the next generation of record buyers which records to reissue. 

The point Siever and Shipley are making is that the industry, Major, Audiophile, and Independent Labels, must be introspective about what and how they reissue. A super deluxe version of Nirvana's Nevermind not only takes up more space on the limited shelf space of waning retail stores, but it also saps the budget of said struggling record stores. Stores are now forced to spend tens of thousands of dollars to snap up as many limited edition RSD bullshit reissues to satisfy the ballooning irrational exuberance which creeps into the market every 12 months (now 6 months with Black Friday becoming RSD part 2). That becomes tens of thousands of dollars that could be spent on Scorpio style reissues that puts more music into the hands of a wider LP buying audience.

If I didn't have Scorpio in the 90s' and 2000's to build my base of New LP's buyers, I would not have a base of customers to talk to about Pre-Amps, Moving Coil Cartridges, Resonance, Record Vacuums and 45rpm pressings, (or your DVD). You've unfortunately taken the stance the Audiophile industry has always taken towards the general buying public. 

Numero's efforts have been integral in leading the reissue market by creating product that is more than just vinyl worthy, but historical, archival, appealing not just to the fetishists, but demonstrating something that the audiophile market always missed, deeper intellectual context. For them, The Medium IS the Message, to hijack my favorite Marshal McLuhan quote. 

analogkid14's picture

I' m personally not a huge fan of RSD. I think releases should be available anytime. I don't buy vinyl to simply collect it , or that it will appreciate in value. I play my vinyl, I use it. I wear it out, and try to find another copy.

With new LP's , I have to love the album or the artist if I'm going to spend my hard earned money. I picked up  the new Lone Justice release on Omnivore, because I liked the band, and I am a big fan of Maria McKee. I appreciate the packaging , the red vinyl etc. But it's the music that matters to me. I like the sound that vinyl imparts. I will support Omnivore or Sundazed because they care to put out interesting titles in good quality. I care about the music, musicians, and my local record shop.

marcel_kyrie's picture

I think they have a point with the baseball card analogy. While it's true that demand is driving the resurgence, what kind of demand is it? People must want these special editions, else they wouldn't sell. I certainly don't buy them, unless it's unavoidable. It worries me that many of the younger buyers see vinyl as "retro chic" rather than as a better format.
If much of the resurgence is based on this idea that vinyl is a cool, unusual, hip item to own, what happens when it goes out of style, as fads always do? If, as I suspect, today's young listeners don't have the attention span to listen to an album side, and go back to putting their MP3s on shuffle, we will be right back where we started, (well, not "started," but you know what I mean).
CDs may be a thing of the past, but Spotify-like services and digital files may be the future - not vinyl. It's so much cheaper to buy a $150 set of computer speakers, and much more convenient to play files. It just costs so much to put together a TT, cart, and hifi, that I can't imagine we'll see a situation like in the sixties and seventies where everybody had one. On the other hand, digital is accessible to everyone. Can audiophiles alone support the record industry, if most of these new converts leave?

usernaim250's picture


First, one could say that by definition, the vinyl boom reflects the actions of businesses, because without supply, there could be no sales, let alone a boom. Just as major labels drove the vinyl bust but cutting off supply 25 years ago, labels drive the boom by hyping and supplying vinyl. True they only do so because there are customers, but they ignored those very customers in the 90s. By mid-92 you couldn't even buy the hottest albums in the nation, Nevermind (which had sold out its limited edition) and Ten (not pressed domestically until late 1994), on vinyl.

Second, I don't think you are aware of how many people have no turntable or absolute crap but nonetheless buy vinyl by their favorite bands. You can tell because of the number of sealed and/or unplayed copies offered on ebay years after release. In other words, baseball cards.

The key to the vinyl resurgence was when labels realized they could serve this (the largest) segment of the market by offering downloads. Now, for just a few bucks, fans got their mp3s and an artifact--one with present use value and likely future market value--to boot. 2006-7 was the bottom of the vinyl market, and the turnaround coincides perfectly with the offering of downloads with vinyl. Those buyers turned out to be wise--at least compared to buying on itunes. The $10 to iTunes is gone. But those LPs are generally worth anywhere from 75% to 750% of what they paid.

While the idea that vinyl is a superior sonic medium is indeed key in the vinyl boom, the reality for most people is that it is not. Most records sold are mediocre, many are never played, and most are played with bad equipment, or improperly installed equipment, or worn styluses.