Recently, Jack White auctioned off some rare vinyl pressings of early material by his band, The White Stripes. One of those records - the band's self-titled debut - ended up selling for $510 and earned White and his label, Third Man Records, quite a bit of ire from fans. Along with noting that the label is donating $15,000 from the auction series to charity, White noted:
We sell a Wanda Jackson split record for 10 bucks, the eBay flipper turns around and sells it for $300. If $300 is what it's worth, then why doesn't Third Man Records sell it for $300? If we sell them for more, the artist gets more, the flipper gets nothing. We're not in the business of making flippers a living. We're in the business of giving fans what they want.
Make no mistake, we could make twenty thousand split color whatevers for you, and they'll be worth $20 bucks, and you'll pay $20 bucks for them, and you'll never talk about them, desire them, hunt to find them, etc. why should ebay flippers, who are not real fans, dictate the price, make all the profit (taken from the artist and the label) and take the records out of the hands of real fans. There's a guy who waits in a black SUV down the block from Third Man who hires homeless people to go buy him tri colors when they are on sale. He doesn't even get out of his car. Should he be charged ten bucks or two hundred?
That is a good question. Should labels stick to the MSRP or should they try to auction off rare vinyl to the highest bidder?
You can check out the entire discussion here.