Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Jack White defends profiteering as customer's fault

Having spotted that selling limited-edition vinyl records tends to see them turn up on eBay, and going for exorbitant prices, Jack White has hatched a cunning plan. He's cut out the middlemen and just released the new Wanda JacksonWhite Stripes reissue through eBay.

Perhaps understandably, the fans aren't thrilled by this - under a normal release, you at least stand a chance of getting hold of a record at normal prices. This way, it's all overpriced.

Jack doesn't see it that way, though:

"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 thought we'd let you decide how much they cost this time."
Or you could produce enough of them that there's not an artificially small market forcing prices upwards - that's a bit of a thought, isn't it? And it would deal with the other problem of a fan who can afford a tenner, but not three hundred.

The world responded to White's suggestion that somehow it's a treat to be ripped off when it's him doing it with the sort of abuse you'd expect. Apparently, he hadn't expected it, though, and threw a hissy fit:
"You would go so far as to say f--- you to us? For what? We didn't do anything to you but give you what you want ... If you don't want [this record], DONT[sic] BUY IT. And if you do want it, don't act like you DON'T want it. Get in line like anyone else ... It's you and others wanting them that dictates the price and the entire nature of the idea."
It's your own fault for feeling ripped off as if you didn't desire the record, it wouldn't be expensive.

Who, exactly, asked Jack White to sell these records for the highest price he could? Does he really believe that manipulating a supply to create huge demand and then creaming off the profits is really acting in anyone's interest other than his own?


4 comments:

Anonymous said...

The dude didn't sell them for those prices. Fans bid those prices. It was not a Wanda Jackson record, but a split color reissue of the first White Stripes album. He didn't put all the records on ebay, just five of them.

Just some corrections there for ya.

simon h b said...

Sorry - the Spinner piece, and White's defence - had been a bit vague about what the record was. Thanks for the correction on that one.

The other 'corrections' aren't - he's still put the remaining supply of records onto eBay, whether it's 'all' from the start of the run or 'all that's left' at the end of the run.

In fact, it's arguable that putting a few on is worse, as it legitimises the idea of eBay being a place to go to buy this stuff.

And the argument that "it's the people buying it making the prices high" is exactly the same line White was trying to spin out. That's exactly the problem, isn't it? That 'fans' (collectors or speculators rather than fans, I suspect) with loads of money will force out actual fans with lower incomes.

If he was really worried, the release wouldn't be limited.

placidcasual said...

I really really don't have a problem with White doing this, everyone knows it's getting harder and harder for musicians to earn a living (though I'm well aware it's unlikely White falls into that category), and if someone is willing to pay £300 for something, why would anyone in their right mind sell it for £10?

simon h b said...

@placidcasual

It's fair enough to sell things by auction, but to pretend you're doing so because you don't like other people profiteering is inconsistent.

Especially since the price is only high in the first place because you've deliberately created a limited supply of the product in the first place.

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