Paul Weller has joined the chorus of critics challenging Record Store Day and the sales flips, mostly on eBay, that result of the day’s exclusive releases.
Writing on Facebook, Weller said that the practice “[is] such a shame because as you know I am a big supporter of independent record stores, but the greedy touts making a fast buck off genuine fans is disgusting and goes against the whole philosophy of RSD.” Weller’s single, limited to under 500 copies, was in stores for $7.99, while many copies are on sale for about $20.
Weller continued, referencing reports that some of Record Store Day’s exclusives had been put on eBay before they were available in stores, undermining the entire point of the event. “There were copies of my single on eBay the day before Record Store Day and I’ve heard stories of people queuing outside their local record shop only to be told there were none left at opening time!”
Billboard reached out to Record Store Day co-founder Michael Kurtz about exclusives showing up on Ebay even before the event took place. He explained: “Regarding the eBay stuff that was up last week: We checked and the vast majority [of sellers] were people who did not have the releases — we know this because they had not arrived in the stores yet — but were flippers who presented themselves as having them, with (presumably) the plan to go into the stores to get them and then flip them. This is a violation of eBay rules and we’ve reported them.”
While Kurtz’ statement still leaves open the possibility that a minority of eBay flippers had broken the embargoes and pledges that Record Store Day makes all participating stores agree to and sign, it makes clear that the pre-emptive listings were largely illegitimate from at least two angles.
And, much to Weller’s chagrin, there’s little to be done about collectors selling their limited-release records on eBay or the popular vinyl site Discogs after Record Store Day—much less events like the Brooklyn Flea Record Market or London’s Independent Label Market—have taken place.