Thursday, 13 October 2016

Amazon Selling: It's Singles Time! (1/2)

All my adventures with the large resellers of CD albums on Amazon - yer Music Magpies, Momoxes, Dodaxes and the like - are handily summarised in this post, just in case you're bored or masochistic enough to want to read them. Anyway, at the end of that post I hypothesised that - as I thought at the time - the big resellers don't seem to be interested in buying them, then this might be a more promising market in which to sell. Now, I could have sworn when I embarked on this epic adventure, all four of the big resellers - Music Magpie, Zappit, Ziffer and Momox - stated explicitly that they purchased only CD albums. No singles, please, thank you very much, please come again.

But it turned out that I was wrong; some of them do accept singles. Not as high a proportion as they buy albums - while Music Magpie will take pretty much any CD album off your hands, for instance, they only accept about 25% of CD singles - but they're obviously interested in certain items. Now, I've not checked exhaustively for two main reasons: (1) it quickly gets frustrating to get prices when only about 1 in 4 are accepted and (2) they are all rip-off merchants anyway. Therefore, I'm done with them and their ilk; I've no doubt that provide a service for certain people, but not for me. So for my CD singles survey, I've simply noted down the lowest prices that they command on Amazon's second-hand marketplace.

Before moving onto the nitty-gritty, let's have a

- - -  SUMMARY STAT ATTACK!  - - -

Of the 350 CD albums considered in the previous posts:

The sum of lowest prices was £901.43 (about £2.58 each). Now, that doesn't sound too bad until you consider that there some significant outliers, reaching right up to £48.12 (I found 15 which had a cheapest price over £10.00). But then again, this is offset by the enormous number that command only a penny each (you can pay more, of course, but I'm looking only at cheapest offers for this whole "thing"). 99 of the 350 (28.3%) are penny CDs, mainly sold by Music Magpie.

So by removing the top 25 and bottom 25 and considering the middle 300 only, the sum of lowest prices is £446.36 (or about £1.49 each, i.e. even worse).

So let's do the same for singles. Selling CD singles is a bit more complicated than selling albums for a number of reasons (the main one being that I'm unsure whether you're allowed to sell promotional copies (marked "not for resale"), plus some others which I'll go into in more detail in part 2).

Anyway, I thought I'd stick on the safe side and found 250 that I thought I could legitimately sell in the usual manner, i.e. all original barcoded copies, legitimately bought new (although therein lies an interesting story, detailed in part 2; let's not get sidetracked here).

Of the 250 CD singles I looked at:

The sum of lowest prices was £1,572.91 (or about £6.29 each). "Blimey", thought I. However, there was one significant outlier that skewed the whole thing; removing that reduced the sum of lowest prices for the 249 remaining to £574.17 (so about £2.30 each), or slightly less than the average price commanded per album.

Performing the same exercise (removing the top 25 and bottom 25, considering only the 200 that constitute the middle of the list, the sum of lowest prices is £208.10 (about £1.04 each). This was a bigger fall than I expected, but 89 of the 250 (35.6%) were penny CDs, a higher proportion than was found with the albums, so it sort of makes sense.


Actually, this post is pretty much all stats, but let's not get bogged down in semantics. Here's that all-important Top 20 (I feel like Bruno Brookes!):

1.  Beltram - Energy Flash:  Cheapest offer £998.74 from Revival Books Ltd (1 other offer)

There's something very strange going on with this one (see part 2)

2.  Jam & Spoon - The Complete Stella:  Cheapest offer £79.99 from xyxxxx - International (sole offer)
3.  Prince - Black Sweat:  Cheapest offer £29.50 from Audioland (3 other offers)
4.  Pet Shop Boys - So Hard (David Morales Remixes):  Cheapest offer £27.94 from momox co uk (5 other offers)
5.  Project One - Don Gorgon Comin':  Cheapest offer £24.99 from Wolfman Music & Games (1 other offer)
6.  Love Decade - So Real:  Cheapest offer £22.91 from Revival Books Ltd (3 other offers)
7.  The Aphex Twin - Digeridoo (Analogue Bubblebath 2):  Cheapest offer £17.99 from brettfree (4 other offers)
8.  LFO - What Is House EP:  Cheapest offer £14.99 from shardiko (1 other offer)
9.  Orbital - Mutations:  Cheapest offer £12.94 from momox co uk (5 other offers)
10.  Depth Charge - Legend Of The Golden Snake EP:  Cheapest offer £12.48 from pulserecords (3 other offers)
11.  Felix Da Housecat - Ready2Wear:  Cheapest offer £12.25 from Greener_Books (6 other offers)
12.  The Crimea - Lottery Winners On Acid:  Cheapest offer £9.99 from hippocrates69 (2 other offers)
13.  Fierce Ruling Diva - Rubb It In:  Cheapest offer £9.73 from MediaClearance (sole offer)
14.  Rumer - Into Colour EP:  Cheapest offer £8.73 from OnlineMusicFilmsGames (1 other offer)
15.  Unique 3 - Rhythm Take Control:  Cheapest offer £8.70 from Bahamut Media Group (6 other offers)
16.  Metric - Monster Hospital:  Cheapest offer £8.59 from momox co uk (4 other offers)
17.  That Petrol Emotion - Abandon:  Cheapest offer £8.32 from Bahamut Media Group (3 other offers)
18.  M83 - 0078h:  Cheapest offer £7.69 from Revival Books Ltd (7 other offers)
19.  SL2 - DJ's Take Control/Way In My Brain:  Cheapest offer £7.42 from Revival Books Ltd (3 other offers)
20.  Dinosaur Jr. - Freak Scene:  Cheapest offer £7.00 from Round3 UK (10 other offers)

(Prices all correct @ 13/10/16, although the speed of this market probably means that there have been some moves whilst I've been writing this).

As can be seen, a similar pattern emerges. Certain CDs are out of the hands of the big resellers - in the singles market these seem to be Music Magpie (cheapest on 131 of the 250), Bahamut Media Group (cheapest on 20 of the 250), Brit-Books (cheapest on 12), Greener Books (10), Momox (8) and Revival Books (7) - and these are the ones that mainly command the higher prices. However - as with the albums - if the big resellers price do have copies, they will price them as high as they can, almost always undercutting their next best competition by a penny.

Or, as I like to call it, price-gouging.

So that's the figures out of the way. In Part 2 (hopefully I should get this done by tomorrow), I'm going to detail the myriad problems in selling CD singles as opposed to albums; also I'll take a look at some inexplicable differentials in price between ostensibly as-obscure-as-each-other singles and go into a bit more detail on some of the wild outliers. Bet you can't wait, eh?


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