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Pay For What You Didn't Get

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April 27th, 2013 was a Saturday.

I awoke on this particular Saturday to an unseasonable cold (lower 30s) for central Kentucky. I awoke on this particular Saturday at 6:15 AM. Now, I’m a college student. And, as a college student, there are two things that will wake me up at this early hour: emergencies and food.

Or, so I thought.

See, Saturday, April 27th, 2013 was no ordinary Saturday.

It was Record Store Day.

One of my favorite days out of the year, Record Store Day is the opportunity to wait in line at ungodly hours of the morning in order to obtain limited edition releases by your favorite bands. This year, DMB did not disappoint.

As many of you know, the Band released Live Trax Volume 1 on clear, blue vinyl on this Record Store Day, and limited the printing to 500 copies.

After waiting in line for 3 ½ hours, and elbowing my way through a crowd of more-than-regular-capacity, I managed to snag one of two copies that our local store had ordered for this occasion. Copy 404 out of 500.

I was ecstatic.

We paid the $80 for it and went on our way. Not before snagging some of the other releases, but that’s a different story.

Now, this price seemed reasonable to me. A regular, double-sided vinyl LP is somewhere just north of $20. The Live Trax release contained 4 vinyl LPs, so the price of $80 didn’t appear to be anything too ridiculous. A smart business decision made by smart business-minded people.

But, after the initial sale in the store, hell broke loose.

How so? A quick browse through eBay will help you to realize that you there were scalpers out there who got their hands on one or more of the copies of the release and sold it for two, three, and even four times the price of what it was in-store.

Yes. For the low, low price of $250 to $500, you, too, can own your very own copy of a set of vinyl records that you could have gotten as a true, devoted fan instead of somebody who has little to no compassion for our beloved DMB and just wants to make a lousy profit off of you that the Band will see little to nothing of.

It is worth noting, though, that Before These Crowded Streets was released on limited-edition vinyl (in just as many individual records as the Live Trax release has) back in 1998 when the album first came out, and that it is now going for around $500 (at minimum) unopened. Opened usually runs for about $200 or so.

There are plenty of people who will justify this sale and scam by saying that these are collector’s pieces and that you are paying for a piece of history from the band. But, there are still those of us who simply want it because of the music. And, it is sad to have to say that this paradigm even exists. I can’t imagine the Band approving of such an anomaly when they clearly have never been in this industry for the business aspect of it. Why should their fans be made to suffer the consequences?

But, hey, if you want it, go for it. It’s a great release. Maybe the broke college kid is coming out in me.

Perry Ritter—musician, passionist, dream, college student