First Dibs (Part Two)

This is Day 10 in my 30-day blogging journey.

If you don’t know the background on this, check out Day 1.

Yesterday, I wrote about being a fan of limited edition bourbons/ryes.

Today, I’ll write about my other love of collecting: records.

I’m in a weird place as a record buyer. I currently have no more room for records, which means that if I want to buy more, I need to get rid of some.

It also means that if I buy a record, I REALLY want it.

And it means I’m a bit of a snob.

I can’t claim to be an audiophile by any stretch but I do have some stellar pressings of albums that make me appreciate why vinyl is better than digital and why some sources of audio are better than others.

It also led me to the company Acoustic Sounds.

Acoustic Sounds has been selling high quality records and turntable gear since the 80s.

Over the last few years, they’ve been releasing a series called UHQR which have raised the bar for how records arguably “should” sound.

As one might imagine, they only press so many of these titles and, discontinued ones are typically sold for 2-3x (if not more) of their original retail price.

Last year, they announced that they would be pressing many (not all) of the Steely Dan records. If you know much about that band, you’ll know that sound quality was important to them (perhaps to a fault).

That same care and attention is also on the UHQR releases.

Acoustic Sounds has also released two of Bob Marley’s albums: Rastaman Vibration (which came out first) and most recently, Exodus.

It’s my experience purchasing Exodus that inspired not just this post but yesterday’s as well.

Unlike the bourbon offerings that I referenced yesterday, vinyl pressings like this can reach into the low thousands (say, 3000 or so). However, demand can be quite high and, when you’re purchasing items on the internet, it’s every buyer for themselves.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you view this), the demand for Exodus was very high.

So high, in fact, that it clogged their website.

Mind you, those in the know complained that it was because Acoustic Sounds has an antiquated website that is in drastic need of being updated.

Maybe they’re right.

However, one customer in their frustration offered a suggestion not unlike what the business I wrote about yesterday does.

Give priority to customers who you know have spent the money in the past and open up access to them before you give the general public access.

Now, whether or not owner Chad Kassem updates the website to something that can handle the traffic, I am not sure.

And, perhaps, clogging the website is exactly the kind of publicity which may drive more people to check out the site.

I also understand that when things are limited, that means (by definition) not everyone gets the item.

Win some, lose some. No pouting.

I tend to agree with that customer.

Yes, quantity may be limited but give your faithful customers “first dibs” at access. They can opt in or out. Either way, the item still sells. The same revenue is made.

Sadly, many people purchase records (and bourbon, for that matter) simply to flip it on the secondary market and make a profit.

It’s not the way I choose to do it. If I’m buying something, I want to enjoy it.

It would take little effort on behalf of Acoustic Sounds to curate a list of customers who A) spend the most B) specifically buy the higher-end options and then put them on a separate mailing list.

As for me, I did get my copy of Exodus, and it did take me a long time to get through the site.

It sounds…amazing.

But the purchasing process was not amazing.

Not for me and, by the looks of it, not for many others.

I think The Prime Barrel had the right idea.

I hope Acoustic Sounds can follow suit.