Last night at 9PM, Arcade Fire released their new single, “Reflektor” on 12” vinyl to various record stores throughout the world. At only 8,500 copies, the single was destined to be something of a collector’s item, like any limited run vinyl from a popular band is bound to become.
I dutifully drove myself to the record store in the Rochester area that was supposed to receive copies of the single, arrived about 15 minutes before 9PM and asked the people at the registers if there were, in fact, Arcade Fire singles available there. After receiving an affirmative response, along with an apology that they couldn’t sell them prior to 9PM, I kicked around the store for a bit and then got myself (first) in line when the time came. (That was more a function of me looking at the stacks of 45s in the front of the store than it was my desperation for getting my hands on the new single before anyone else in town.)
Those who were in line all got their vinyl, and then, before anyone paid for it, we took a group picture for the label (apparently), looking stoked to have our hands on this limited run of wax. After that, we dutifully got back into line, and then, because I was the first who’d asked about the single, I received a t-shirt with the Reflektor artwork on it, as well as a bunch of pins, a poster, and a sticker as well, all for $10.79 including tax.
After paying, I walked out, having been a small part of something much larger. There wasn’t a lot of fanfare – the store was playing the single as we checked out – but there were no balloons or confetti or large cutouts of the band adorning the walkway into the store. It was all pretty understated – just a handful of people excited to have new material from Arcade Fire in their hands, and to have it in a format that only 8,499 people would have it.
And then, not 15 minutes after I got home – around 9:20 or so – I searched for “arcade fire reflector vinyl single” on Google, and found that two people already had the single for sale on eBay, one seller asking for $49.99 for the privilege of owning it. As of this morning, there are a dozen copies for sale.
If you collect vinyl, you understand that it’s not really about getting your hands on everything limited you could possibly want, because that’s realistically (and monetarily) not going to happen. If a limited run of vinyl sells out before you get it, that sucks for you, but it’s great for the band. Chances are that you’ll be able to get the two songs for a couple of bucks on iTunes. Yeah, it sucks that you can’t set it on your turntable and spin it endlessly, but you do realize that it’s not the end of the world, right? Don’t you?
Please don’t go out and spend some exorbitant amount on two songs that were available for $10 to feed someone else’s greed. You don’t need it that badly. Hell, I’ll sell you my copy if you can prove to me that you need that single so much that you’re willing to shell out $50 just to have it. (Note: the only way to convince me is if you have a tattoo of each band member’s face on your body, or something equally idiotic.) Let’s collectively decide that, right here and now, we won’t support individuals who try to profit from your fandom. (Blog pal Rich reminds me that this also goes for ticket resellers.)
Now, I also understand that my inconsequential ranting isn’t going to bring about a sea change in people’s attitudes or how shitty people can be in general. But man, if you’re that seller in Pittsburgh that had that copy of the single up not 30 minutes after it was made available, please do me the favor of not ever setting foot in a record store again, because you clearly don’t understand what it is to love anything other than yourself. Stop taking advantage of the people who do.