Tuesday, November 10, 2009

That LP you're about to Replace? Check on it first

I was waxing on to Terri about the incredible beauty of Philip Glass's 1980 opera Satyagraha, and how I only had an LP of it and wanted to get a electronic copy. I took a glance at iTunes and was mystified that out of 100's of listings for Philip Glass I wasn't finding it except on a really expensive retrospective and that didn't even have the full work.

So I went back to Google and Amazon has an entire Philip Glass store (wow) and I found it there. Prices for the CD set start at $40 and I noticed that it wasn't listed on the main site which means it's out of print (sees like a crime personally). Scanning down the list I see the prices hovering around $40-$50 (expected - it's a 3 disc set) and then suddenly they jump to 89, 90. 100, 120, 159 ?? What is going on? On closer look I see words like "slipcover," "libretto booklet," and "disks appear unplayed" Huh? When's the last time you could tell if something was played? OH! When it was made of vinyl! They're talking about LPs. It starts to slowly sink in and I go find my copy just to make sure it's still there. There it is gathering dust. Something I was thinking of replacing is actually worth several times what I paid for it. That's a nice surprise. And I do have that "libretto booklet" which is a thorough description of the opera. I'm wondering if I can get that $15 price tag off the front without messing it up.

The weird thing is now what do I do? I guess I should put a post it on it saying that it is worth money and shouldn't just be tossed out (unlike say the other LPs). We are going to be digitizing some of the out of print LPs but now I think I should probably just get the CD rather than play it again. Fortunately the price of the CD hasn't changed that much save for the fact that the price of the used one is pretty close to the price when it was new 10 years ago.

Just out of curiosity I check on another Glass opera Akhnaten which I have on CD. Similar story. Out of print average price is around $35 with a weird sudden price jump to 65 for a couple of CD sets and then up to 90 and 115 for what must be LPs, though I'm not sure as Akhnaten was released in 1987 and CDs were becoming the norm then.

For fun I also checked on Laurie Anderson's 4 CD set United States which is also out of print on CD though you can order it in MP3 format new (because she's nothing if not high tech :). Prices for the CD Box are even more insanely variable. 40 to over 400(?!)

Strange that something that just sits around becomes more valuable simply because they're not making more of them, though it's little weird with the CD getting more valuable since it can easily be copied. Guess I'll at least dust them now. Maybe CD box sets are an investment of sorts. Now I'm trying to figure out what will be the next big thing. Actually that sounds like a money trap so I should pass, and just stick with what I'm passionate about which is plenty.

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