From time to time I like to revisit the topic of vinyl record prices. I talked about them not too long ago and, while returns are still early, it looks like the bottom might not be falling out of the market after all. There’s also a huge piece of news for a highly-coveted album from the 90’s being reissued.
While the US is apparently in an unsaid recession, inflation has been falling a bit and so far most collectibles markets seem to be holding steady. I keep an eye on the price of a few different LPs just to see how the price is moving, and so far nothing is off. No falloffs big or small, everything is holding steady. Maybe the number of sales are declining some, but that’s not information I have real access to.
I said last time that a vinyl crash wouldn’t be a good thing for buyers, even if prices fell. It looks like maybe, must maybe, we won’t see the worst case scenario of an all-out crash. I would expect some attrition in a down economy, but as of now we don’t know just how down this economy will truly be. At least at this point, things appear to be holding steady enough.
There are two ways to lower the price of secondary market titles that have huge price tags -crash the vinyl market to the point of oblivion, or reissue the old material. The second option is much preferred. And there is a heavy hitter coming to the reissue market soon.
In September, the market will see a new pressing of Dirt, the 1992 masterpiece from Alice In Chains. I can’t say for sure how many copies of the new pressing there will be – I thought somewhere said it was 2,000, but I can’t say for sure. Hopefully there will be enough to go around, again I don’t know the details.
It is a fantastic time for a repress of Dirt, because prices were getting out of control. All year it has sold at or near $100 US for a 2009 reissue (the one I happen to have). Not much movement since the reissue news, though a copy did sell for $60. Listing still abound at over $100, but I don’t see many copies moving until the new reissue’s stock makes its way through the market.
And I wonder what happens at the end of it all – will the 2009 press crash in price, or will it hold if the new reissue is limited in scope? I know the Facelift reissue awhile back was somewhat limited in nature, but I also know there are still stray copies out there at retail prices. Will Dirt get snatched up before anyone knows what happened or will it linger on shelves for a little while?
So Dirt is getting bailed out, at least for a bit. But what about the other coveted Alice In Chains records? The self-titled has never seen a reissue and costs an arm and a leg right now. If we are to use 30th anniversaries as a planned reissue guide, we have three years to go before a reissue. That’s a long time.
And what about Alice In Chains MTV Unplugged? The record was at retail prices not all that long ago, in fact I picked one up for roughly $30 late 2020 or whenever. Now? That thing can’t be had for under $200. And there isn’t a reissue in ready sight for it. I’ve said it before and haven’t done it yet, but I’m tempted to cash out on that one and get me some damn money.
That’s the one I’m really gonna watch over the next few months. I’m curious how Dirt does, but with no reissue in sight, how far does Unplugged go? A potential buyer apparently can’t rely on a shit economy to depress prices, so should a seller lean into the good times and cash out? I ask to myself to decide what I should do with a coveted record I could turn into several other records, and I ask in a general sense in our weird, shaky economy when we try to decide what to do with the relative value of stuff.
The Alice In Chains record prices are something I’ll keep an eye on in the next few months. In terms of blogging, I want to see how Dirt does after the reissue. I would think the older reissue, like mine, would tank, but early indications don’t show that. And we’ll see how the economy holds up, and if there are people out there still willing to throw down $300 plus on Unplugged, or if things start going south and demand softens.
There’s the general vinyl economy, and apparently there’s also the Alice In Chains vinyl sub-economy. Let’s see if I should ride it to the moon or get out while it’s hot out.