Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Amazon, Second-Hand CDs - Update 12/10/16


I'm writing so much about this it's getting a bit unhealthy, but I find it fascinating. Regular readers (are there any?) may recall that I had a group of 350 second-hand CDs - all albums - and ranked them by the lowest price each commanded in Amazon's marketplace. Actually, it might be a good idea to do a quick link to each of the previous posts, just in case anyone is insane enough to read them again (and anyway, it might be handy - for me - to have them all in one place), so:

1. Before looking at Amazon, how much would the big resellers be prepared to pay?

2. An attempt to figure out the business model of each reseller;

3. An afterword to the above, in which I thought I'd got a pretty good idea of the reselling model;

4. Fun With Music Magpie, in which we play a game of cat and mouse over a CD;

5. An update, expanding the number of CDs, particularly contrasting Music Magpie's buying/selling prices;

6. A look at the individual CDs commanding only high prices on Amazon, since updated.

To recap, here's the top 20 as they initially stood on 1st October 2016. Due to my rank incompetence, I didn't get all the details at the time (and in my defence, the prices move around so quickly that it's almost impossible to pin them down):

1. Cats And Cats And Cats/This Town Needs Guns (Split album):  Cheapest offer £1,426.19

That one was the obvious standout!

2. The Soul Searchers - Salt Of The Earth:  Cheapest offer £34.97 (discrepancy as the price kept changing as I was writing)
3. Sheila & B. Devotion - King Of The World:  Cheapest offer £40.15 (discrepancy as above)
4. Escort - Escort:  Cheapest offer £39.96 (which fell to £18.95 as I missed a listing)
5. Tap Tap - On My Way:  Cheapest offer £20.85
6. The Delfonics - Adrian Younge Presents The Delfonics:  Cheapest offer £20.11
7. The Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra  - The Benevolence Of Sister Mary Ignatius:  Cheapest offer £19.99
8. The Concretes - Boyoubetterunow:  Cheapest offer £17.95
9. Stereolab - Sound-Dust:  Cheapest offer £16.58
10. Josef K - The Only Fun In Town/Sorry For Laughing:  Cheapest offer £14.68

I didn't note the cheapest offers for 11-20, but they were as follows:

11. The Modern Lovers - The Modern Lovers
12. Pablo Augustus - Original Rockers
13. She Wants Revenge - She Wants Revenge [US Import]
14. The Blood Arm - Bomb Romantics
15. Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma
16. Stereolab - Dots And Loops
17. Slow Club - Complete Surrender
18. Mayer Hawthorne - Where Does This Door Go
19. Shaun Escoffery - Shaun Escoffery
20. Metro Area - Metro Area

So today I thought I'd take a look at what changes had taken place within the list in the last eleven days. As I've mentioned previously, a lot of them seem to change price according to some sort of algorithmic process (largely when the big resellers decide to compete with one another over an album, or when a new seller enters the market), whilst some just change price in a seemingly random process that I still can't figure out.

All that said, I was expecting some changes, but wasn't quite prepared for some of the enormous moves. For instance, there's a newcomer at no. 1, because the Cats And Cats And Cats/This Town Needs Guns split album had been reduced from its ridiculous £1,000-plus price.

So here we go with the Top 20 as it stands (previous position in brackets):

1. (2)  The Soul Searchers - Salt Of The Earth:  Cheapest offer now £48.12 (2 other offers)
2. (1)  Cats And Cats And Cats/This Town Needs Guns (Split album):  Cheapest offer now £45.16 (2 other offers)
3. (115)  The Peppers - Pepper Box:  Cheapest offer now £42.53 (1 other offer)
4. (4)  Escort - Escort:  Cheapest offer now £39.96 (1 other offer)
5. (3)  Sheila & B. Devotion - King Of The World:  Cheapest offer now £35.58 (2 other offers)
6. (11)  The Modern Lovers - The Modern Lovers:  Cheapest offer now £23.20 (2 other offers)
7. (6)  The Delfonics - Adrian Younge Presents The Delfonics:  Cheapest offer now £21.58 (5 other offers)
8. (5)  Tap Tap - On My Way:  Cheapest offer now £19.61 (7 other offers)
9. (8)  The Concretes - Boyoubetterunow:  Cheapest offer now £17.95 (3 other offers)
10. (9)  Stereolab - Sound-Dust:  Cheapest offer now £16.58 (6 other offers)
11. (19)  Shaun Escoffery - Shaun Escoffery:  Cheapest offer now £14.75 (13 other offers)
12. (10)  Josef K - The Only Fun In Town/Sorry For Laughing:  Cheapest offer now £14.68 (11 other offers)
13. (14)  The Blood Arm - Bomb Romantics:  Cheapest offer now £13.95 (2 other offers)
14. (13)  She Wants Revenge - She Wants Revenge [US Import]:  Cheapest offer now £10.99 (10 other offers)
15. (12)  Pablo Augustus - Original Rockers:  Cheapest offer now £10.79 (9 other offers)
16. (18)  Mayer Hawthorne - Where Does This Door Go:  Cheapest offer now £9.43 (30 other offers)
17. (16)  Stereolab - Dots And Loops:  Cheapest offer now £8.89 (2 other offers)
18. (15)  Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma:  Cheapest offer now £8.75 (23 other offers)
19. (143)  Hardfloor - TB Resuscitation:  Cheapest offer now £7.99 (8 other offers)
20. (32)  The Soul Searchers - We the People:  Cheapest offer now £7.94 (18 other offers)

Aside from the newcomer in the top spot, there are two other obvious big movers, the Pepper Box album, up 112 places to no. 3 (as I recall, someone had it listed at about £2.00 back on 1st October, but that copy was obviously snapped up) and Hardfloor's "TB Resuscitation", up 124 places to no. 19. The other new entry, "We The People" by The Soul Searchers, didn't actually move much in price; it was more to do with the previous best (about £6.99 @ 01/10/16) having been sold. And as with the top ten involved in the previous "Outliers" post, Music Magpie aren't selling any of the 20 above.

Of the three that have fallen out of the top 20:

22. (20)  Metro Area - Metro Area (now £7.49; I think this was due to me accidentally selling my copy, as detailed here;

24. (7)  The Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra - The Benevolence Of Sister Mary Ignatius (now £6.99 from who else but Music Magpie);

51. (17)  Slow Club - Complete Surrender (now available at £4.02 from inandout-distribution).

In the wider sample of 350, there were a few other interesting movers:

42. (88)  Metronomy - Love Letters (£4.58 from dodax-online-uk)
43. (119)  Ladytron - Witching Hour (£4.53 from Music Magpie)
57. (111)  Super Extra Bonus Party - Super Extra Bonus Party (£3.90 from marzi)
68. (179)  Dum Dum Project - Desi Vibes (£3.45 from Music Magpie)
86. (210)  (Mixed By) David Holmes - Come Get It I Got It (£2.98 from The Monster Bookshop)

And the ten biggest fallers; every single one of these has fallen because Music Magpie have either obtained a copy, or reduced their price to match a rival seller; either way, they now have the cheapest price for each of these:

99. (38)  Caro Emerald - The Shocking Miss Emerald (down to £2.48)
102. (35)  Best Coast - Crazy For You (down to £2.39)
113. (39)  Haim - Days Are Gone (down to £2.14)
114. (52) Rumer - Into Colour (down to £2.11)
119. (47)  Stereolab - Margarine Eclipse (down to £2.03)
124. (34) Hecuba - Paradise (down to £1.98)
131. (41)  Caribou - Swim (down to £1.62)
219. (54)  The Cribs - In The Belly Of The Brazen Bull (down to £0.28)
294. (110)  La Roux - La Roux (down to £0.01)
297. (63) Mains Ignition - Turn On (down to £0.01)

I'm biased (particularly against Music Magpie), but it shows how readily the big resellers can just stitch up the market; it doesn't matter if they only get a penny per CD, as they make their money mainly through their bulk postage discount. I'm aware of constantly banging on about this, but it can't really be stressed enough that this is the only way to make money selling second-hand CDs through online marketplaces such as Amazon, ebay and the like, unless you're into the "serious collectors" market (good quality and/or unusual vinyl will always rule supreme here).

When I began writing this post, it was my intention to make it the last one; after all, I think I've pretty much covered the subject as exhaustively as I'm able to...but then it occurred to me that the major resellers tend not to buy CD singles, so presumably don't compete in that market (although I'm willing to bet that Music Magpie get in on the act somehow). And I've got absolutely loads of them, including a lot of obscure early-90s rave/hardcore stuff that must be pretty rare. Whether anyone would want to buy any of it, however, is a story for another day...

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