Before there were mp3’s, there were 45rpm records. That’s what’s on sale this month: https://www.saintstevensthingery.com/shop/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=58
Everybody know that records are hot. Except there’s a movement (which will fail) to rename them vinyls. That’s because when people who call them that say that word, people like me charge them twice as much for them than we were asking in the first place. I kid you not-I sell them through several channels, and they get the most money and fastest sales in the Yuppie And Millennial Channel and the least money and slowest sales in the Expert Channel.
But it’s not about that-everybody knows that nobody knows what records are worth. We just all know they’re selling much better than they were just a short time ago, mainly because that’s what the news says.
But why? I have been mulling that over and have arrived at the answer. Because of Trump of course. He has not only single-handedly made the stock market go crazy, but he has also made the record market go crazy.
Post hoc ergo propter hoc. That’s Latin for one thing happened and then another thing happened so it must have been caused by the first thing. Trump was elected, record sales went crazy. Yes, they were already doing awfully well and I know some people are going to say he had nothing to do with it.
But now, in addition to doing awfully well, everybody is building new pressing plants, also known as building infrastructure. That’s Trump. Make American Records Great Again (one of the recently constructed big plants was Canadian).
Fake records are even doing great. There are a number of kinds of fakes-outright bootlegs which are doing so well that Discogs has banned them but also record club issues, and of course pressings of records from places where nobody cared about the bands in the first place (English Grateful Dead records, for example).
There are now record clubs that won’t even tell you what they’re going to send you next, they just send SOMETHING and you pay for it. A variation on that theme are incredibly rare (short pressings) of records that some guys bundle together and advertise but they’re only available for five minutes so nobody knows whether they even really exist.
Limited editions are everywhere. This author is counting those as Fake Records because they’re often pressed on 180 gram vinyl that doesn’t play well on $50 Crosley players. One of the things that made records fun in the first place was gold records. That used to mean million-sellers, but has shifted a bit. Gold records of course didn’t start out as million-sellers, so the first million DIDN’T say “Million Selling Gold Record or something similar on the cover or at least on the hype sticker. Once they hit that threshold, record companies told us all about it, assuming that if EVERYBODY bought it, even people who didn’t buy records would buy them.
Even cut-outs are hot. Those were records that greedy executives deleted from their catalog because they weren’t profit-maximizing and then they dumped them to guys who specialized in records that have been dumped and retailed for a dollar or two. Forty years later, a saw mark or a cut corner or a drill hole is meaningless. It’s a valuable record.
Records that are missing things like their original inner sleeves or posters or whatever are valuable. A couple of scratches don’t matter much.
Some artists were really big-Elvis, Beatles, others. They sold millions of copies. Every one of those is valuable. Especially if they’re stereo, produced during an era when engineers didn’t have a clue how to mix and cut a stereo record. Recently, the author bought a big collection of pretty dirty records (another way to tell if they’re valuable-if they’re dirty, they’re old). The seller was happy to get rid of 300 or more but they insisted upon keeping a reissued Beatles “white album” because it valuable. That particular issue had a blank cover except for the first THREE MILLION, which were sequentially numbered. The valuable copy that guy didn’t want to include in the deal had printing on the front: The Beatles, because as it was reissued over time it was just too confusing to have a record that didn’t have a name (unless it was that one or Led Zeppelin IV). So he still has it. I have another one for sale for twelve bucks because it plays pretty well.
Speaking of Beatles, the most valuable records that there are, Make American Records Great Again automatically made them even more valuable than they used to be because it was once true that only English Beatles records were the original pressings and the American “butchered” copies were just pretend records. Now we’re much happier when we wave our Capitol color bands around and again, especially our STEREO Capitol color bands.
Don’t believe any of this? Post a picture of Herb Albert’s album Whipped Cream And Other Delights on the Internet sometime and see what happens.
Soon, people will be snapping up Dean Martin records and Captain And Tennille and stuff, even those (which is all of them) which wound up in garage sales with masking tape price stickers that topped out at twenty-five cents. Mark my words. That might be a little unfair-there’s a Tennille song on the album Make Your Move which I like very much and it’s already Extremely Rare. Sometimes, I put stuff like Paul Anka in my catalog and my snobbier friends want to know what I think I’m doing. I’m being a capitalist, baby. Anyway, you see them for sale on Facebook all the time. If they show you ANYTHING, it’s the front cover, but certainly not the label or any of that silly gooble-de-gook. They just say “30 albums for sale, $300, there’s a valuable Michael Jackson in here”.
Just like the way Trump made the stock market shoot way up which pleased everyone except people who don’t HAVE 401K’s, he has made guys like me rich. And probably richer if we’re wise enough to feature record album covers with lots of cleavage, even though there has never been any shortage of those.
There’s just one thing I can’t explain and that’s hip-hop, but they say that’s a streaming format anyway, for people with Trump-like attention spans.
After he popularizes double albums like he has two scoops of ice cream, look out. We’ll have to wait for those to trickle down from the mega-rich and that could take a while. All we’ll get during the early part of the boom will be double albums of 20 Greatest Hits By 20 Different Artists, all pared down to one minute and forty-five second cuts for people who hate concentrating.
You heard it here first.
This record came from a stack of LPs without covers, which had been lost to basement moisture (I’d say flooding), and it was covered with dirt and all kinds of nasty stuff including parts of the paper cover.
It was restored by me using several methods and these files have been enhanced by a little noise removal, and possibly a click removal or two (I can’t remember). Anyway, that’s why you should be damn careful about stuff you’re throwing away.
The cover is a repurposed cover from some other album.
Happy Earth Day from Wherever I am.
Also Happy Record Store Day Also Happy Wedding Day which is another story.
Lately I haven’t lived near a record store which participates in Record Store Day (I do this year, but that’s new). I don’t travel often, due to life’s constraints, so going to attend RSD in Minneapolis or someplace is usually out of the question.
But throw me into a role at a wedding fur fur away from home and schedule me for photos at 3PM and I have a little time window from 10AM forward when I could locate whoever-it-is and attend their RSD fling and I’m going to find a way to do that. I didn’t review all this year’s releases well, but I know of a limited RSD release or two that I might buy if I went right past one.
I didn’t have a particularly good time. It was a skinny store right off of a pretty good-sized university, nicely organized, and it was clean, had the correct background music, there was nothing wrong with the place whatsoever except that it was busier than hell. And crowded, wall to wall people, gorging on records. Owner didn’t have time to talk about a Kingfish LP cover which was part of my personal shopping acid test. Record shopping should be conversational. Actually it HAS to be conversational or it’s obsolete.
I don’t know what I think I thought I should expect, being on a college campus, but I now know who the Millennials are. I have wondered that to this point in my life. There was no one in the store who WASN’T a Millennial.
I decide to scan the room because it’s difficult to navigate through the crowd and that’s when I notice there ARE no other guys of my classification. What classification is that, I hear you asking. Oh, there’s this kind of record shopper who starts at one point, and makes a complete circle throughout the field of records and pauses every once in a while to ask if something is a Ludwig master, or, like in my case, wondering why I once apparently owned the only Kingfish record album cover in the world that wasn’t cut-out.
Kind of a hard type to describe.
I decided to just freaking buy something and get out of there. I never did find out whether they actually HAD any RSD limited edition releases.
I opted for the Rolling Stones recent record, issue about last December or so. It was priced at about $38.00 or so, which is about right, and a French pressing (which I have to look into a little more about) and was sort of my version of buying a pack of gum at a gas station and then coincidentally needing to use the free bathroom. I don’t NEED another record-I’ve never listened to all of them that I have in the first place.
Blue And Lonesome. That’s the name of the album. I just call it That Blue Album and that’s incorrect, and record store guys kind of hate that, trust me. I was going to order it from Amazon, having missed it when it was originally released (it seemed kind of self-indulgent for me to pop for a $40 during the Season Of Giving, so I put it off). I asked for that Rolling Stones Blue album and the harried apparent owner of the store asked me “You mean their last one?”. Yes, please, they had it, and zap, sign this, you’re out of here. It wasn’t a Record Store Day special release and in fact it was about four months old, which always was kind of old for a new record.
Whatever, I digress. I understand that the Rolling Stones dashed off this little jewel in three days or so. They should always do that. Well, maybe not always, because then they’d never be anywhere but where they started. They started largely by listening to mail order blues records from Chicago. I don’t remember whether it was a Stones biography or some interview but one of them said that the wait between the time that they ordered records from the U.S. and finally getting them was about six weeks. So, you had plenty of time to study your new records before the next batch got there.
Early Stones stuff sounds like it does because of them listening to those records and many of us have always hoped they’d play more stuff like that again. This album is ALL stuff like that again. So I’m glad I bought it even if it was almost forty bucks.
Oh, yeah, and my daughter got married so there was that part. I did look over the DJ’s stuff and I didn’t see a turntable so I didn’t ask. Later that same evening it was the next day and my nice hotel room didn’t have a turntable either, so I had to wait another day or two depending upon how you keep score, and drive across a couple of states and do all the the stuff that you do to decompress from stuff like this. So I’m pretty committed to the album by the time I slapped it on the turntable, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to prove essential.
So I bought a nice non-record store day record, and I’m glad the store was doing so well at that moment, and I wish them a lot of luck, but Record Store Day doesn’t need me, if everybody is going to cram into them and buy a lot of records.
I got into that business in 1987. Records were already finished, although they were still pressing them for a few years beyond that. Neither of my stores did the number of transactions per hour that the store I was standing in was doing. We rang virtually non-stop only two times in memory and both of those were Guns ‘N’ Roses releases and those were primarily CD’s, though we sold our share of LPs of those two. Other than that, the record shopping experience at my joint was mainly one-on-one, and you can’t DO that in a store where you can’t even move.
I have this web site. I’m not spamming it, I just want to mutter about it. It’s an e-commerce web site that comes in three sections: the original core pages, which I wrote in HTML and a WordPress blog and a Zen Cart shopping cart. Those apparently are three different kinds of things if you want to make wholesale changes. One kind of wholesale changes a person might want to make is to convert the whole thing to SSL, or Secure Socket Layers, not only to make the little green lock in your address bar which tells you that the communication between you and the site is encrypted but also to appease Google, who is just about to insist upon it. I don’t really HAVE to offer SSL encryption, mostly because my shopping cart doesn’t process payments (it turns customers over to PayPal for that), and also it doesn’t ask you to imput any information, unless you register to post something or buy something. Then it does, and the little green lock is somehow reassuring. Anyway, obtaining this SSL Certificate is not just a matter of buying it, it turns out. That’s slightly painful as it is, but once you’re assured that all that’s done, it’s possible to sit around for a week waiting to see the little green thing. Oh well, we’re doing other stuff, we can wait, right?
Eventually we speak to our host (and by we I mean a version of me) and they tell us: oh no, you don’t just buy that, you have to configure it all over the place. What this now really means is that everywhere that we’ve said “http://” that now has to say “https://”. Swell. At the moment, we have over 6600 pages in that blog, most of which contain multiple images and each one of those things and more is an “http://”. The store (or shopping cart) is momentarily at some 1057 Things. Those and more are also “http:/”s.
The guy at the hosting company asks: um, do you work with a developer or a programmer who’s going to help you with this? He’s told no. He suggests getting someone like that. I don’t do it.
I change those suckers. It doesn’t work-the method I’ve devised forgets that maybe some of my code ALREADY says “https//” and if I tell some big text editor to change everything in the world it makes a bunch of “httpss”s in addition to “https”/ and everything is still broken. Both the WordPress blog and the Zen Cart shopping cart use PHP language and while I can see it going by I’m not particularly proficient at patching it, and if you have something goofed up PHP’s first intinct is to serve up thousands of snowy blank pages with no clue what went wrong.
Other crazy stuff happens. I’m breaking in another computer and all of a sudden both my machines aren’t set up the same and one has programs that the other doesn’t, and there’s an issue between my FTP program and Windows10 and there are thousands of images involved here.
The folks at Zan Cart push out a new version of that which fixes some stuff I want to keep fixed. That’s a pause for a couple of hours because you don’t want to goof those up. We get done, and 2 1/2 hours later they push out another minor version which fixes a little problem that’s been around for years and not even the hackers knew it but it needs fixing right away, now that somebody’s discovered it. Our file comparison tool isn’t on the new machine yet and so all THAT kind of updating is relegated to the upstairs computer which can still compare. We get all that taken care of.
My self-hosted photos are eBay are broken. I better do something. I get the code all fixed, and two days later everything should work, right? Nope.
If you use a service named Cloudflare, among whose clientelle I am an original beta tester, they need to be told that you’ve switched over to SSL too or some of the tricky stuff they do will crash your WordPress-archived photos when you try to use them at eBay because some infinite looping happens. Then, if you have a WordPress blog, you will need their plug-in to defy that looping. Fine, no problem, we’ve been installing plug-ins pertaining to the SSL, including the Pro version of one free one because OF COURSE the free version didn’t replace EVERY http: just quite a few of them. So we’ve installed the Cloudflare/WordPress plug-in and haven’t truly tested it yet because we temporarily have CloudFlare disables, but we’re pretty confident that their code will work-it usually does. We hope so because in the middle of all this, a couple of nights ago, we turned the entire blog into snowy white blank pages by putting that “s” behind two related “http”s in EXACTLY the only place where you DON’T want to do that.
Until I find some other little oddity, I think maybe it’s all running again. Now I can process credit cards, which I don’t anyway.