The Death and Rise of Collectible Record Business

I am addicted to vinyl. Cannot help it. I had a break of almost a decade (the dark age of CD’s) but never sold my vinyls, and now in our new house with a music room the addiction is back with a vengeance. I have bought more than a 100 records in the last half a year.

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My Transrotor Leonardo Turntable, spinning a clear vinyl issue of Hunky Dory by David Bowie.

Besides the primal urge to own more and more vinyls in general, the other problem in trying to control the urge is my eclectic taste in music. So, I always find something to buy in almost any store or flea market, since I like funk, punk, indie, jazz, avantgarde, soul, Latin, African… you name it.

Anyway, the business of collectible records (as all collectibles) has really changes shape since the last time I was keen on analogue media, in the early 90’s. It is the most concrete example of the long tail I have ever seen. The small record stores are vanishing (too bad for the record stores, really), but in eBay there are at the moment 3,5 million records for sale (on the US eBay only). The rarity has become a commodity; almost ANY record is available at ANY time (for a price).

The long tail, social media -driven marketplace is also increasingly transparent. Sites like Popsike publish information about the value of the records, and the fast-growing Discogs combines the features of a wiki-style music database (currently 4 million entries from all over the globe, and counting), marketplace, social platform (you can find me there) and record value indicator. One more proof that communities can do things which are impossible otherwise.

For the collector, this really is the golden age. I am setting up a vinyl store with my daughter. We will trade really rare records, which I have purchased over the years. Finland used to be a lousy place to buy & sell really obscure music, because the local market is small and the tastes conservative. But now we just operate from Finland – we know that there will be a market, because the market is the world.