What Brexit Means To Record Collectors

EU referendum
Two confused record collectors discussing the impact of Brexit on Record Prices

 

In a little over 5 weeks, record collectors across the country will be going to the polls to decide whether the UK stays inside the EU or goes it alone. It is a momentous decision, and one which I urge every record collector to think very carefully about. However, it strikes me that there has been very little coverage in the press about what effects a Brexit might have on the free movement of vinyl, so how can record collectors across the country make the right decision?

Well, worry no more!!  Help is at hand with my guide to cut through the scream of back ground noise and get to the sweet melodies of useful and relevant information. Lets start with the question on every record collectors lips:

Will I still Be Able To Import Music From Abroad?

sellyourvinyl502

One of the central planks of the EU is that record collectors can buy music freely, so if you want to import an album from the Romanian band above, then you are free to do so. However, if the UK were to leave, would you still be able to import the same album, or would there be restrictions, such as how long you could keep the record in the UK for or if you imported the album, could you also import the singles from that album etc. It’s all very confusing, but I think all record collectors would agree that it is best to be able to enjoy the multi-culturism that music from different countries brings.

So, if you want to continue to enjoy the freedom to enjoy whatever your musical taste is and from where ever it may come from, you’re probably going to vote to stay in.

Will The UK Still Be Able To Take Part In The Eurovision Song Contest?

sellyourvinyl503

The quick answer has got to be, unfortunately, YES! After all, if Australia can take part, there are obviously not many geographic restrictions in place. Now, I’m the first one to support diversity (not the dance troop), but I draw the line at Moldova’s 2005 entry from Zdob si Zdub called Grandmama Beats The Drum. The point to consider for all record collectors is that just because we leave the EU does not mean we can escape the horror of the Eurovision Song Contest every year. Now, if any of the “Leave” spokes people had made a firm commitment that the UK would never have to endure another Eurovision Song Contest, then I think they would sweep up the vast majority of record collectors – and most of the rest of the population too.

I just have to mention Guy Sebastian, who represented that well known European country Australia this year, one more time! In Australia, 4.2m people watched the show (a record coincidentally), and in particular they must have marveled at his pyrotechnic piano. I grudgingly concede it bought something new to the show (very grudgingly!)

sellyourvinyl504

I know that out there, amongst the many different shades of record collectors, there are one or two who actually specialise in Eurovision vinyl, and as much as it is not for me, everyone should be able to make their own choice.

If We Stay In The EU and New Countries Join, Will Record Prices Increase Due To More Collectors?

sellyourvinyl505

According to the leaflet that just popped through my letterbox, excitingly called “The 2016 EU Referendum Voting Guide”, there are currently 28 members of the EU, with 5 more countries waiting to join, including Turkey (that’s important for some reason – didn’t they win the Eurovision in 2003?) Now, it seems logical to me that if we leave the EU, then the in-flow of record collectors to the UK could be controlled, and conversely, if we stay in the EU, and 5 more countries join the EU over the next few years, then there is the potential for more record collectors to come to the UK. Is this a bad thing?

The thing about record collectors is that they have open minds and the chance to talk to interesting record collectors from new countries excites them. There isn’t a record collector in the country who would not give his tatty old anorak or his last egg sandwich to a fellow record collector who has fallen on hard times. Furthermore, look at some of the positives. If new and interesting record collectors start coming to the UK, we could see rare record inflation, which means the values of our own collections will rise faster than an Arsenal season ticket. And, there’s the opportunity to nip over to all these lovely European countries and find rare and valuable releases at bargain prices, and we can bring them back without fear of being stopped at customs and having a nasty tax added.

So, from where I am standing, record collectors have nothing to fear from the UK staying in the EU, but in fairness, we probably won’t notice anything different if we leave either. Now, where can I get a copy of Grandmama Beats The Drum?

If you are interested in selling any of your unwanted vinyl, please get in touch. I promise not to judge you on your likely referendum voting intentions!! I also want to say thank you to all the people who have contacted me recently with details of their records for sale. There are some fantastic collections out there and I will get round to see them all. Thanks again!!

 

Record Collecting and The EU Referendum

No, this is not the name of my new band, although it does have a certain ring to it. But, with the EU referendum a mere 7 weeks away, I thought I ought to raise the important question that no-one has yet asked. Namely, what impact will Brexit have on the free movement of vinyl across Europe?

But, before I talk about that, I wanted to talk about a great little record collection I came across recently from a really nice guy who was about to go travelling and wanted to clear his flat of all unwanted/unneeded items, presumably so he could rent it our. When I arrived, the place had furniture all over the place, and boxes half packed, but amongst this mayhem, I found 30 or so records of pure quality. It was clear that this guy loved his vinyl, had looked after it carefully, and more importantly, he had great taste!

Now, none of his records were mega-rare, but they were an interesting collection, which presumably gives an insight into how his taste had changed over the last 10 years. For example, there was a lovely copy of the Arctic Monkeys At The Apollo box set which really caught the eye, released in 2008, and captured some of their live shows from 2006. There were only 5,000 of these produced, so quite rare.

Arctic Monkeys

As time went by, so his taste evolved a little, with a really nice copy of The XX’s debut album XX which was in lovely condition. I’m guessing this was from around 2009, and what made this especially nice was the fact that the original poster was still neatly folded inside the sleeve. So, he’s still into his indie stuff at this point, but then something started to change, and his musical taste changed to. I am left wondering if he had left university and moved to London to work, maybe starting to find new musical influences. Or had he met the love of his life. I’m not sure, but his music was moving!

The XX

To demonstrate this subtle change in his musical taste, I came across an album by an Australian band called Bag Raider ( had he been travelling after finishing his degree and heard this band while down under?). It is not guitar indie, but much more electronic dance music, so a major change from just a year before. And it continues in this direction with the brilliant Gorillaz album Plastic Beach, which whilst having the guiding hand of Britpop darling Damon Albarn, is undoubtedly a stunning album of electronic dance music.

 

I’m not sure what happened between 2010 and 2013, but by 2013, he was getting into some really new territory, and I offer the double coloured vinyl release of Cut/Copy’s Free Your Mind as evidence of this. As one reviewer said of this album:

Every Cut Copy album has it’s own feel to it. This album in particular though is very hard to pin. It combines New Wave/Synth Pop with Electro/Dance. I love the feel it provides the listener. 100% playable 200% all-around! 10/5!”

CutCopy

Who can tell what was happening in my record sellers mind, but he had graduated through indie to dance and beyond. The funny thing is, this is the last album that he had bought, or at least was in the collection. I wondered why he had stopped. Was it because he was now streaming his music or could it have been the beginning of the desire to go travelling again? Had the lure of the bright lights which had provided so much hope and opportunity just a few short years ago dimmed, and his thoughts turned to packing in his job, selling all the possessions that reminded him of his past, that reminded him of the dull 9-5 routine, the tortuous commute to the digital centre of London, and heading off to far off distant shores where he could relax and find a new direction?

I will probably never know, but whatever his reasons, he was a really nice guy and I just loved his small but beautifully formed record collection. I hope that he enjoys his travels and finds what he is looking for.

If you are interested in selling any of your unwanted vinyl, please get in touch. I promise not to over-analyse why you are selling!! I also want to say thank you to all the people who have contacted me recently with details of their records for sale. There are some fantastic collections out there and I will get round to see them all. Thanks again!!

 

Diary of A Vinyl Picker

It’s getting late and the rain is lashing down in a small town, well, I was born in a small town, and I live in a small town and probably die in a small town! I pull my collar up around my ears, and push on through to the other side of the street and into another potential goldmine of vinyl.

OK, so I spend a lot of time looking for additions to my vinyl collection, and looking in charity shops and those kind off part antique centers – part “tat” shops can sometimes turn up some interesting little gems. What I find both interesting and frustrating is where a charity shop will open up a specialist shop selling music, film and books. You probably know who I mean. The concept is interesting because they have realised that some records are more valuable than others, and I totally get that. But, where I get frustrated is how they arrive at their prices. The object of the charity has to be to raise money for their cause, which I and everyone else applaud, but there has to be an equation between price vs. time to sell, and in some cases I think they get it wrong. Surely it would be better to get 70% of the possible value (always very subjective) in 7 days, rather than 100% of the possible value in 10 weeks.

One way of letting the market find its own level would be to put anything that might be valuable on to an auction site like Ebay. If the charity in question already does this, then I apologise for my ignorance, but I have never found myself bidding for a Beatles or Rolling Stones album on Ebay with the seller clearly identified as a charity. Knowing the people of the UK, I suspect a good number would bid more enthusiastically if they thought 100% of the money was a donation to a charity who do fantastic work in the community etc. (Could a charity collect tax relief on your donation? It would be even better if they could!!) From a cash flow perspective, this must be better for the charity, as they can turn their stock quicker, and who knows, as corporate as Ebay are, they may cut a deal on fees to be seen to be supporting charities in the UK. Just an idea.

One final grumble about the un-named charity above; if you do have a potentially valuable album, why put it in a sunny, hot, exposed shop window? I walked past my local shop last week, and there were a couple of quite good vinyls on show, namely a lovely copy of the Gorillas album Plastic Beach and a euro copy of David Bowie’s Space Oddity, both of which were slowly having their album sleeves discoloured and the vinyl cooked on a low heat until ruined. Crazy!!

Anyway, back to a cold, rainy day in a small town. I had been walking around all afternoon and to be honest was pretty despondent at the small number of shops that I had visited that even had any second hand vinyl at all. But, I  knew that this final shop, at the end of the high street, was usually good for something worth having. Over the years, I have found decent copies of some great 1990’s indie albums, including Definitely Maybe by Oasis and I Should CoCo by Supergrass, as well as some great NWOBHM albums and picture discs, including stuff from Iron Maiden.

As I struggled up the high street, the rain by now almost horizontal, the cold drops winning the fight to get under my collar and forming small icy rivers running down my neck, constantly wary about passing large puddles in case the constant flow of vans and lorries should spray me from head to toe in dirty, cold rain, what kept me going was the prospect of finding something unusual, possibly rare, but always in god nick. I was concerned about how I was to get this rare specimen of vinyl home without getting it wet and sodden, but plenty of time to worry about that later. First, let’s get in the warm and get searching.

I could see the shop, just past the new Subway sandwich place, and quickened my step. Almost there. One last swerve to avoid a meeting of a  passing white van and a large puddle, and I was there. I shook my coat, and full of expectation, I pushed the door. It was locked. It was Wednesday and they closed at lunch time. Bugger!

 

 

 

Top 5 Biggest Selling Albums….If Charity Shops Are Anything To Go By

I’m standing in a circle with a group of other people, all of whom are shuffling anxiously. Everyone is looking at me. I clear my throat, and in a quivering voice say:

“My name is Stewart, and I collect records”.

Everyone claps at my honesty, and I feel relieved that my guilty secret is no longer a secret. OK, none of this is true, but it has a certain ring of authenticity, especially when I’m crawling around on the floor of a charity shop looking through a box of dusty old records. The thing is, no matter which charity shop I’m in, no matter if it is an affluent suburb of London or in a less affluent inner city or town, I see the same records time and time again. Where do they all come from? More importantly, why did people buy them in the first place?

So, I thought it would be fun to list the top 5 best selling albums in history, based on how frequently I see them in charity shops. I think it will be only a matter of time before the mainstream music charting organisations start measuring the success of an album in the same way! Come on guys, keep up!

In traditional Miss World fashion, I’ll announce the “winners” in reverse order.

No. 5 – Mantovani Golden Hits

This is a classic album full of his greatest hits..well, it must be, it says it on the front of the sleeve. If I had a pound for every time I’ve flicked through a pile of albums and found this gem, I’d have enough money to take a contract out on the music exec who thought it would be a good idea to release this album. Who actually went into their local record shop, saw this and thought, this looks good, I think I’ll buy it? I have no idea, but it is most definitely happened, and for that reason it is a solid No. 5 in this chart.

mantovani

No. 4 – The Best of Top of the Pops 1973

Now, to be fair, I’ve picked the 1973 release, but in fact it could have been any number of different years, but the point is, there is no charity shop in the UK that does not have at least one copy at the back of a box somewhere. In fact, I think if you look deep enough in the small print of the rules and regulations of running and managing a charity shop, as published by the Charities Commission, there will be a clause that says if you sell records, it is a requirement that you must, at all times, have at least one Best of Top of the Pops album in stock. The other thing is, they are always in MINT condition!! I can only guess that, for some reason, they were bought but never played. Finally, and perhaps there is something slightly uncomfortable about this, everyone of the front covers has a scantily clad young lady emblazoned on it.  As if the musical content was not enough to draw you in!!

totp1

No. 3 – BBC Sound Effects Effects Album

Again, there are any number of these to choose from. I assume, because they were such big sellers, the BBC churned them out for an adoring audience in ever increasing numbers. They must have been the mainstay of the BBC finances during the 60’s and 70’s, because there are literally millions of them lying around in charity shops from Lands End to Jon O Groats. It’s any wonder that The Beatles ever got to the top of the charts with the BBC releasing these bad boys every few months throughout the mid 60’s. You can just imagine John, Paul, George and Ringo celebrating the release of Sgt. Peppers only to find out that through some awful admin cock-up, its been released in the same week as the BBC’s Sound Effects 1967 block buster!!

bbcsoundeffects

No. 2 – Herb Albert & The Tijuana Brass Christmas Album

Now, I really don’t have anything against Herb Albert or his Tijuana Brass, but why, oh why, are there so many copies of his albums in charity shops? I picked this one as an example, and also because you would be amazed at how often I have actually found it during my forays to charity shops. Again, it is always in immaculate condition, with the sleeve showing hardly any signs of wear and tear, the vinyl shiny and unmarked, and the useful and informative inner sleeve showing other releases on the “Music For Pleasure” label that you can rush out and buy, always present.

herb-alpert-christmas

No. 1 – OST to The Sound of Music

Now, before you all start shouting that Julie Andrews is a national treasure, I totally agree with you, but this is an alternative chart of the biggest selling albums as measured by how many copies I fall over in charity shops. On that basis, this album totally deserves its place in this chart. This is a monster selling album, and it says a lot for the good folk of the UK that they have donated so many copies to so many worthwhile charitable organisations. I am no financial expert, but I would hazard a guess that many of the wonderful works carried out by charities large and small, would not have been possible without this album. I salute Julie Andrews and her band of Von Trapps, and thank her for this album. Did you know there is a singing group made up of members of the Von Trapp family called, originally enough, The Von Trapps? Will we, in years to come, find copies of their albums flooding our charity shops too? We can hope.

sound of music

To finish with, let me say that I love rummaging through charity shops looking for long lost albums, but if you have a record collection you are thinking of selling, please let me know, and I’ll be happy to have a look. But please, if you have any one of these albums in your collection, the right and proper place for it is in a charity shop, and I won’t stand in your way!