From The Guardian UK
There is a rebellion brewing among fans of Jack White's label, Third Man Records, over the company's decision to auction limited-edition releases to the highest bidder. After admitting that Third Man was inspired by profiteers who "flipped" the label's releases on eBay, White has waded into the debate, telling critics to "stop all of the whining". "We didn't do anything to you but give you what you want," he wrote. "Don't want them to be expensive? Then guess what? Don't WANT them."
Since 2009, White has been issuing limited-edition records on his Third Man imprint, including releases by the Dead Weather, Conan O'Brien and the White Stripes. Many of these are released in runs of 100 or 300 copies, with tri-colour, glow-in-the-dark or oddly sized vinyl. Although these limited editions often resell for hundreds of pounds, Third Man sold them on a first-come, first-served basis through its Nashville headquarters, "pop-up shops" and a paid members' service, the Vault. With the label's rising profile, and its releases' rising values, Third Man has attracted "flippers", who buy limited records purely sell online.
This week, Third Man Records decided to beat the flippers at their own game, listing their own limited-edition White Stripes reissues on eBay. Vault subscribers were directed to these auctions, where bids have soared to more than $300 (£193). But many Third Man Records fans are furious about the label's new strategy, taking to the label's message board to complain about "fan exploitation" and "FU to Vault members". White waded in with a series of stern responses.
Frankly, I dont' understand what the problem is here. These are limited edition items. It's not keeping any of his fans from buying one of his songs for a buck online.
Until I read this article I had been puzzling over this tweet from Billy Corgan earlier this week:
@Billy I love that Jack White is calling out entitled people for what they are. Go Jack! Go Third Man Records...
Corgan has been selling limited edition EP "boxes" this year. While I've heard some fans complaining about the $20 price tag, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. In the case of The Pumpkins, the songs on the EPs are available for FREE on their website.
IMO, anything like this that generates LEGAL revenue from fans who WANT to pay the price for it is OK. We should want these guys to make a living, especially if that living excludes a major label or Live Nation.