Sunday, July 13, 2008

Collectible LP’s and CD’s: Profits Found Trading in Music

Original, Sealed, U.S. Pressing of 1964 "Meet the Beatles" sold on eBay July 3, 2008 for $2,027.99

We’re in the car headed back to Chicago, and I must say, I am having a very hard time trying to type. So, today we have a Guest Blogger, my friend and 31 Club Member, Colin. Colin collects and trades in Music, and here’s his blog in his own words:

Music has been a transforming art form for thousands of years. Within this past decade alone, music has been listened to in so many different ways. Remember the old 45’s you used to spin in your living room or at the local dancehall? I’m sure half of you don’t! Artists would come out with vinyl LP’s that you could buy in the store for a dollar at best, and they would feature some 8 songs (You know, 8 tracks). Slowly we progressed to those cell phone-sized cassette tapes, where the music was played through a stereo instead of using a turntable with a needle. These lived a rather short lifespan, however, and for good reason. They broke easily (the tape would get stuck and tangled up in the machines), and finding a particular song on the tape was difficult as you had to fast forward to rewind through the long tape to find what you liked. For these reasons, cassette tapes are not, and were never, worth much, even when they later became obsolete.

Since the beginning of MTV in the early 80’s, we heard the famous saying, “Video killed the radio star” (the title of the first-ever music video). Music was no longer limited to the radio, but music videos became the norm, and it became unwritten law that artists needed to make a video to accompany their hit song as a new means of promotion. Around this time, CD’s hit the scene and slowly revolutionized the way we listen to music.

Music became digital and no longer did we need to worry about our cassette tapes getting tangled up in the stereo, or tearing our LP’s up with needles. Now we could just pop in a CD, not having to worry about rewinding or fast forwarding for an hour to find that one song we really liked! Songs were made as tracks, and with the touch of a button, we could find our favorite one! The only problem was, CD’s cost up to $15 a pop, and nearly all of them had maybe one or two good songs, and the rest were considered filler (basically songs that just were not good!). Only the best of the best made CD’s where most or all of the songs were consistently listenable. Putting such a dent in your pockets for only one or two songs hardly seemed worth it. Not only that, everyone had to re-purchase everything that they had on cassette or LP and get the CD version. The benefit of this caused many of the more obsolete vinyl records to become quite valuable, while other more common ones lost all value. It is really hit or miss with these, and the ones that are still sealed are definitely the ones that will bring in the most money.

With so many artists and bands, you really need to do your research to find records or artists that have value. A good start is going on eBay and looking up completed auctions for 12” records or LPs/vinyl, and seeing the most expensive items that were recently completed. Then you can go out on a hunt at used records stores or find other auctions on eBay that sell a huge lot of records at once (and see if you can find a hidden treasure in the lot). Garage sales and estate sales can be goldmines, as the common person has no clue which ones, if any, are worth anything.

Back to our history lesson-- As we entered the new millennium, music again was completely revolutionized. With the development of the internet, the power was now all ours! MP3’s forced their way into the picture, and with the click of a button, you could have just about any song in existence through a simple download- for free! Artists got angered though because essentially, we were stealing their music and they lost whatever money they would have received from their greedy record companies. A new program called Itunes requires you to purchase a song for $1.00, so that artists do receive compensation for their work, as they deservingly should.

While CD’s are still in use, people are actually buying more blank CD’s. Now, why would you want to buy a CD that has nothing on it? Because now we could make our OWN CD’s- called mixtapes! We now can download any song we want, arrange them however we want and record them onto the disc, ending with a CD consisting of 15-20 songs that do not need to be skipped. Apple developed the ever-famous IPOD, where we can take all of those downloaded songs and store them on a device smaller than your wallet. Now you can’t walk down the street without seeing someone using an IPOD. In fact, I’m listening to mine right now! And you can sure bet, just as CD’s replaced records and cassettes, the IPOD and music on the Internet, is doing the same thing with CD’s.

How does this affect you? Well, I can tell you that I have made more than 3000% profit on CD’s that I have bought and resold.

Recently, I bought a CD on eBay for $10. Knowing what I was looking for, and knowing that the seller had no idea of the treasure that he had, there was an opportunity that could not be passed up! That $10 CD was soon sold on eBay the next week for $300. The original owner missed out on $290 just by misidentifying the CD.

The best thing that has worked for me is searching on eBay for “lots” where sellers sell a bundle of CD’s at one time. Most people do not take the time to search through all the CD’s in these lots, but if there is one in particular you are looking for that is worth a lot, by taking a couple minutes to read all of the titles in the lot, you sure can come across CD’s that will give you the bankroll to make even larger investments.

There are certain artists whose memorabilia and music is worth more than others- typically artists that recently passed away, or artists that are known to have an extremely loyal fanbase (the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, or more recent artists of our younger generation such as 2Pac, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, or the Insane Clown Posse- believe it or not!). I have found that buying “promotional cd’s” (CD’s that were never intended for sale and were used as distributions to radio companies or at concerts to promote an upcoming album) and advance CD’s (another form of promotional CD given to radios and other people in the business) can often turn a profit. Getting these types of CD’s of artists who are new to the industry, and have not yet become popular can often turn a good profit once they do become huge. This is because their advance or promo CD’s are made in limited numbers because they have not built up the fame or respectability for the companies to heavily promote them.

If you have a good ear for music, you just might be able to catch the next big star before they blow up big-- if you do, get your hand on these CD’s while they are still available! Do your research and you can make yourself a very nice profit!

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