Even Jack White recognizes that nearly every insanely limited-edition release he puts out through his Third Man Records label ends up on eBay, where it often goes for hundreds of dollars over its initial price and earns a tidy profit for the “flippers” who put it there. So he decided to run a quarterback sneak around them by putting five copies of the upcoming, extremely rare double-colored vinyl reissue of The White Stripes’ debut on the auction site himself, where one copy went for $510. Almost immediately, as Antiquiet reports, fans started bitching about the going price in the label’s forum The Vault (registration required), where White himself soon responded: “Nobody told them to buy it with a gun to their head.”
After some claimed that, yes, but the records were being bought by people with “more money than sense,” White responded, “Or are they just paying what the going rate is? We sell a Wanda Jackson split record for 10 bucks, the eBay flipper turns around and sells it for 300. If 300 is what it’s worth, then why doesn’t Third Man Records sell it for 300? If we sell them for more, the artist gets more, the flipper gets nothing. We’re not in the business of making flippers a living. We’re in the business of giving fans what they want.” Then things got a little more heated:
Fan: Fuck you, Third Man.
Jack: really? you think we deserve that? would you like us to just stop making limited edition records? you would go so far as to say fuck you to us? for what? we didn’t do anything to you but give you what you want. you’re a vault member obviously, for what reason? limited records you can’t get elsewhere? would you kindly send us those records back so we can sell them to some other fan who didn’t get to have them? don’t want a split colored limited edition record? then guess what? don’t buy one. don’t want them to be expensive? then guess what? don’t WANT them. it’s you and others wanting them that dictates the price and the entire nature of the idea.
make no mistake, we could make twenty thousand split color whatevers for you, and they’ll be worth 20 bucks, and you’ll pay 20 bucks for them, and you’ll never talk about them, desire them, hunt to find them, etc. why should ebay flippers, who are not real fans, dictate the price, make all the profit (taken from the artist and the label) and take the records out of the hands of real fans. there’s a guy who waits in a black suv down the block from third man who hires homeless people to go buy him tri colors when they are on sale. doesn’t even get out of his car. should he be charged ten bucks or two hundred? don’t be spoiled, don’t insult people who are trying to give you what you want. last quarter every vault member got a black and blue live record. a record you’re only supposed to get if you ACTUALLY GO to a live show at third man. are you pissed about that?
we’ve done giveaways, contests, auctions, etc. a lot of different ways for vault members to get first crack at limited records when we don’t have to. we do it because by being a member you’re supposedly making a statement that you’re a real fan who wants the music, and to be involved in collecting rare and interesting vinyl. from some of these comments i take it that a lot of you would like this to be all digital, available to anyone on amazon dot com, anytime. boring, lifeless, lazy, and redundant. don’t get mad at third man for giving you exactly what you’ve asked for. and seriously stop all of the whining, because what you communicate to us is that all of the trouble we go to isn’t worth it because nothing we do will make you happy. we’ll try to do back rubs door to door when we get a chance. sincerely the staff at third man records.
Of course, while Jack White has a point about beating eBay “flippers” at their own game, ensuring more money goes directly to the artist, the inherent value of the limited-edition record, and the irony of a supposed collector of limited-edition records complaining about their attainability, he… Actually, he just has a point. [via The Guardian]