Vinyl Reissues Redirect Both Monetary and Sentimental Value
    • WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 09, 2017

    • Posted by: Peter Hammel

    In September of 2014, I got a text from a close friend that Modest Mouse's acclaimed This Is a Long Drive For Someone With Nothing To Talk About, The Lonesome Crowded West, and Building Nothing Out of Something records were getting reissued on vinyl. Lots of exclamation points ensued in my response as I hopped online to pre-order all three of these puppies. The order came to about $70, an okay price for three records but certainly beating the original print costs. A 1999 original Building Nothing print went for $100, Long Drive of 1995 about $150-250, and for Lonesome, the 1997 holy grail, upwards of $400.

    After the reissues entered the market, the antique copies dropped significantly in price. Now Lonesome sits on Discogs for $100 while Long Drive and Building Nothing circle around $60, a major comedown for records that felt impossible to find a vinyl version of. In 2017, you shouldn't have trouble finding the reissues in any record store. Or, if you're feeling indolent, order them on Amazon for 25 bucks a pop. This ease of access to a record so sought after brings joy to a lot of listeners (and big time cash for labels), but it takes away value from a collectors that A. have been holding onto the record to gain monetary worth and B. have likely been fans since the inception of Modest Mouse.


    The case of the Modest Mouse reissues is not an outlier, as a handful of rare records from over a decade ago have been repressed and restocked, redirecting the legend of obtaining of an original print to pre-ordering or eventually picking up a newer reissue. The Avalanches' 2000 project Since I Left You have a had a few reissues since 2012, bombing the original couple-hundred dollar print down to $50. The GZA's Liquid Swords had a monster Record Store Day reprint in 2013, which, according to Discogs, is actually worth more than the 1995 original. The reprint disease continues, with victims including Let It Be by the Replacements and Slint's Spiderland.

    Any album that you have ever totally loved has a 50% chance of getting a birthday reissue. That's a bit of an exaggeration, but when I think of some of my personal favorite records with releases beyond ten years ago, they've been reprinted. Okkervil River's Black Sheep Boy from 2005 was reissued with a corresponding tour in 2015. The hailed Person Pitch from Animal Collective's Panda Bear got the anniversary treatment this year, with an exclusive Vinyl Me, Please edition of the record. Interpol is celebrating Turn on the Bright Lights' fifteenth birthday with a tour, but no announcement of the album's reissue yet (though they did announce Our Love To Admire is getting an anniversary reprint next week). There's Nothing Wrong With Love from Built To Spill sort of got a 20th/21st birthday version in 2015. Even despite the stigma behind a vinyl reissue, listeners are just getting their first vinyl prescriptions of classics, such as a much awaited copy of Emergency & I from the Dismemberment Plan in 2011, over ten years since its initial release.

    However, it's not a complete nightmare for vinyl collectors that bear original copies like their own children. There exists a feeling of brilliance and nonconformity in sporting an original Modest Mouse record from the nineties. Sure, those records have lost significant value, but a certain pride devours a collector when encountering a reprint. Plus, most original copies sound way better than the quickly pressed reprints that audiophiles steer away from. In fact, it's a double edged sword for both parties, as owners of original copies and newcomer collectors both win and lose. They win by gaining a sense of pride in owning the original or finally getting a copy regardless of the version, and they lose by dropping monetary value or regretting not having an OG print. I'm currently holding onto a handful of recent originals that I hope stay as the sole release, such as a one of 1,200 7" single of Future Islands' "Seasons (Waiting On You)" and a gold, limited to 500 print of ‘Muchacho' by Phosphorescent. Whatever happens happens, and, for me, the music itself will always stay priceless.
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