Friday, February 22, 2013

2nd Hand CDs, Do They Have Any Value? - #119

2nd Hand CDs, Do They Have Any Value?

A few weeks ago I read a column about how the CDs in your collection have no resale value anymore. Now I read about a collector (in this month’s RC), complaining that his entire CD collection is reduced to the value of a heap of granulated plastic.

Which is quite true. There seems to be no 2nd hand market for this format, at least nothing to speak of. Every halfway decent shop has now these discount bins where you can get albums for 2 or 3 Euros. And I’m talking about mint condition CDs, a lot of them even still sealed. What’s interesting is, these are not just the James Last’s of this earth. No, there’s the whole Rock and Blues and Jazz royalty in these racks. Albums that are history and some that have been released only recently. 

I do follow some of this and seeing CDs not selling for 20 Euros, when they were hot items just about 2 years ago and you couldn’t get them for 60 Euros in cash, tells large volume stories about the state of the market. I believe we’re not talking overproduction here, but the labels are actually flooding the market with, I hasten to add, good product. However, it’s a bit like the proverbial dumbest calf leading their own butcher to the slaughterhouse. The industry must be in a very troublesome state, if they think they can regain some marketshare by throwing their wares to the public. Naturally enough, this must affect the 2nd hand market, as noone in his/her right mind is going to buy general CDs on any auction platform on the internet.

Just check this for yourself by checking how many albums of a certain release have actually been sold and compare this to how  many were on offer during this time. I bet you come out with something like 1 CD sold vs. 10 copies unsold. And the one that actually made it across the counter is a cheapo for the aforesaid 2 to 3 Euros, while you paid 20+ Euros in a shop not so long ago.

Now I know that CDs were never as collectable as LPs, but there was a time where you could almost certainly make at least half of your buying price. These days you’re lucky if you don’t have to pay a disposal fee for the lot. The very few rare and sought after collectable CDs are an exception, but don’t think your collection consists mainly of the latter. It’s probably more likely yours is the massmarket kind of albums, even though there might be some “rare” ones. However, don’t think for a second rare means valuable. 

I’m kind of lucky, as my own collection is about half/half, with vinyl seeing a rather healthy market, although, one has to add, even this has seen a bit of a decline. But if you’re a vinyl freak, you can calmly rest in the knowledge that your collection at least retains some of its worth. If you’re a CD kind of guy/gal, there’s the panic button to be hit. Because what it means, is, you’ve sunk quite an amount into your collection and it’s worth now almost nada. Looking at it from this point of view, one would have to do without CDs and either start buying vinyl or forego everything and download this directly for free from the internet.

Not me though, first I’m less of a record collector, but more of a music collector. So, items in my collection don’t really have monetary value to me and second, I need to hold something in my hands (which is quite difficult to achieve trying to hold bits and bytes). And yet, I sometimes wonder why I pay good money in a shop, knowing very well, that by the time I leave said premises, the 100 Euro item has dropped in value by about 75 % (on a good day!). But then, someone has to save all these record shops, and why not me? Devon to the rescue!


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