Being a discussion of the recent change in pricing of revival Reggae and what it’s all about?
Recently there seems to have been a move to up prices for some revival Reggae singles, both 7″, 10″ and 12″. It began a while ago with Japanese labels particularly, producing archive quality reproductions of singles, namely ones from the stable of Prince Buster. These were even offered in paper sleeves that had ‘fake’ stamps on from the original store they were supposedly purchased from, with an address in Orange Street, Kingston Jamaican no less.
Soon followed by some rare’ish Kiddus I material on Lp and 12″ these items had been difficult to find and so the price being asked for seemed reasonable, but recently revive singles by a Japanese re-issuer of Bunny Wailer tunes, some of them not particularly difficult to find have been surfacing with an asking price of up £13 per single! These Wailer tunes aren’t the only expensive items around now, there seem to be more and more coming onto the market. Why?
What has happened is that less and less people are buying revival reggae, but not because of lack of demand! The pressing industry in Jamaica is on the downturn. With much less homegrown up to date product to press up and everyone in Jamaica and worldwide turning to Cd and Download instead of Vinyl singles to reproduce their current product the pressing plants are increasingly redundant and the industry is suffering. The demand for revive Reggae on single just isn’t great enough to sustain the Jamaican vinyl pressing industry solely. Without a wider demand for up to the minute music on 7″ single the plants don’t have enough product to press up in order to sustain them. We are seeing the demise of a pressing industry that has miraculously survived this far into our digital age.
This has meant that those collectors who want to continue sourcing revive Jamaican music have found it difficult to source from a width of choice, not that it has disappeared entirely, but instead if you want a particular tune, you’re going to find that tune harder to find. The vendors have found that the collectors are increasingly willing to pay ‘through the nose’ in order that they may continue to collect and so have falsely created a premium priced market to satisfy this demand. There is no need for this market, the songs they often offer aren’t that rare and could be sourced as better sounding originals for marginally less money in many cases.
However as I’ve mentioned, there is some product on the scene that’s worth the asking price, Pressure Sounds continue to press up extra thick Vinyl revives of Rocksteady and Early Reggae gems, and then if it’s your thing, there are releases like the Sir Collins Down Beat stuff of recent issue, which though not my personal ‘thing’ is genuinely rare to find originals of.