Thursday, March 3, 2011

Record highs

Something is happening to the vinyl business but I am not sure what. I am also not sure if it works in my favor.

It is my habit, when I need to relax, to go through the records at Goodwill or the Salvation Army. You never know what you will find, and it helps me unwind.

So I look through these records. And over the past few years I have found a lot of treasures. Lots of classical piano -- my favorite -- great gems from Rubinstein, Lipatti, Kapell -- sometimes you could see that some collector had maybe died and someone had just dumped his collection. I was amazed at the treasures I was finding, for nothing. I remember saying to my mom, this is so different from when I was a kid. When I was a kid, records were still the main thing. As a result, you would look at the records at Goodwill and all you would find was junk, stuff nobody wanted.

Well, guess what?

Those days are back!

I have not found a decent record at a thrift store in I do not know how many months.

It is getting depressing! The other day I went to Goodwill after my Zumba class and I even asked a clerk there about it. I asked where the good records had gone.

She said, "We're just not getting them."

Meanwhile, the record situation on eBay is changing too. I always keep an eye on the Pennario department. People sell records, vintage ads, etc. Mostly records. And recently, in the last month or so, I have noticed the prices becoming extremely irregular. Some are still inexpensive. But others are skyrocketing.

And the sellers are pricing them weirdly. For instance there is this Heifetz/Piatigorsky/Pennario box set priced at $99.99. On the one hand I am drawing myself up proudly, thinking yes, this is a magnificent set, this trio was perfect together, that's my Leonard! But on the other hand .... $99.99?

Here is a listing so you get the picture. Pennario playing the Khachaturian is $25.  Pennario's first Chopin Waltzes record is priced coolly at $39.95. His Bartok/Prokofiev/Rozsa sonata album ...

 is $34.95. A Gershwin album he made with Felix Slatkin is priced capriciously at $11.20. $11.20??? What kind of a price is that?

As Oprah would say, what is going on?

I do know that people seem to be paying more attention to vinyl. Gramophone magazine is planning a feature on the worst album art -- funny, the concept of album art has been on my mind too. A lot of people still appreciate the warm sound that records have.

If vinyl is getting more popular, though, the downside is that I do not think too many people are making new vinyl albums. I did see some new vinyl turn up at The Buffalo News, from some rock band. I am like St. Thomas -- if I had not seen I would not have believed. I did see it, with my own eyes! But surely those new records are an exception.

That means that with vinyl picking up, there will not be more vinyl, there will be less of it. It will be harder for me to get my hands on what I want.

Oh well. On the bright side...

What happens is not up to me!

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