Published Nov 30, 2010Since early 2009, Third Man Records has been churning out a steady stream of collector's vinyl and ultra-limited-edition releases. Naturally, many of these coveted records end up on eBay, where they regularly fetch exorbitant prices -- just see this Triple Decker Record, currently listed at $350. Recently, label boss Jack White decided to cut out the middle man, auctioning off rare White Stripes LPs himself.
As Antiquiet reports, many fans took exception to White's entrepreneurial approach, accusing him of exploiting fans. In response, he logged on to the chartroom at the Vault (Third Man's paid subscription service), defending himself against the accusations. As for why he's now putting his records on eBay, he said simply, "We thought we'd let you decide how much they cost this time."
Calling it a matter of supply and demand, he said, "You're the ones telling us what they are worth... third man didn't say a lafayette blues hand painted is worth 18 grand you decided that."
By selling the records himself, White intends to ensure that the artist and label profit from the releases, not the eBay sellers. "None of you wants to see a flipper walk out the door who doesn't even like the artist," he wrote, "[and] go and make a mint on a record he doesn't care about."
White soon signed off the Vault, but later returned to the site, at which point things got explosive. When a fan told him "fuck you," White fired back a lengthy rant, saying, "don't get mad at third man for giving you exactly what you've asked for. and seriously stop all of the whining, because what you communicate to us is that all of the trouble we go to isn't worth it because nothing we do will make you happy."
You can also check out more of White's comments over at Antiquiet and read the full chat transcript over at The Little Room, although you have to sign up to see it.
UPDATE: Third Man has now defended its actions further and Jack White himself has shed more light on all this through this update on the Vault [via the good folks of Antiquiet]:
hey y'all, jack here. just wanted to touch base with the thousands of fans who've come through third man or emailed or called in the last few days. everything's been going sweliigently. i want to stress to everyone that i am not mad or stressed at any fans in our world, i'm not even stressed at flippers. it's no fun to see rolling stone saying jack white is pissed at his fans. that's pretty unfair. i have to say the only thing i don't like is that i'm supposedly given the message that i'm not allowed to have a dialogue with my fans or with vault members privately for that matter. i should be able to talk to you guys and explain what we're up to without you thinking the whole staff here is pissed. we want you to know where we're coming from and we want your opinions on what goes on.
there's been a lot of positivity lately about our special releases and what all goes on at third man. glad you are digging what's happening, hope you all get the records you want, and remember all these releases are on black vinyl, and most of the time digital as well, and if enough of you want it on 8 track, we'll look into that too, matter of fact if an 6 year old walks in to the store today and asks for an 8 track of consolers of the lonely, i'm going to get him one dammit, and i'll see him in hell too! (that's a joke people, let's all take it easy) working with wanda jackson today, i'm going to take my picture with her too if she'll let me. take it easy, literally. jack III