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.