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News and Reviews



Below are reviews for this record shop directory, and reviews relating to collecting...If You have a review you feel we should publish, please let us know and we will add the review + a link to your archive here.
If you have brief comments about this site or the shops listed please place them in the Guestbook

We will also use this page to post any important news from the UK collecting scene



REVIEWS:- Most recent Items are listed first...
  1. Record Collector rare price guide 2004 reviewed November 2002
  2. Amazon Marketplace May 2002
  3. The Database Supply Industry Jan 2002
  4. Record Collector rare price guide 2002 reviewed October 2000
  5. the EMI/Warner Merger, how will it affect us? Jan 2000
  6. UK Price Guide Reviews April 1999
  7. Site De Jour, Review of this site Jan 1999


FEATURES:- Most recent Items are listed first...
  1. Flexis feature, Info on both Flexis and postcard records Dec 2001
  2. Pirates feature, perhaps 1 in 3 albums are pirate, yet collectors ignore them! Aug 2001
  3. Cut-outs feature, Collectors info on this much maligned format Jan 2001
  4. Acetates feature, technical stuff, collecting and care Nov 2000
  5. Promos feature, history, collecting and how to get them Sep 2000
  6. Bootlegs feature, part 4, Collecting and Buying Online Dec 1999
  7. Bootlegs feature, part 3, Bootleg Stories and opinions + further Reading Dec 1999
  8. Bootlegs feature, part 2, Classic Bootlegs Nov 1999
  9. Bootlegs feature, part 1, A potted history Nov 1999


NEWS:- Most recent Items are listed first...
  1. Policy on shop names Dec 2000
  2. Record Dealers Discussion forums Aug 2000
  3. Anti Spam Measures: Alterations to the Email coding and how to use the modified pages Mar 2000
  4. Policy on listing "Referral Sites" Sep 1999





Price Guide Review

Record Collector Rare Record Price Guide 2004 ISBN 0 9532601-3-5

The Record Collector Guide guide for 2004 actually hits the shops in December 2002.
It is a strange quirk of the publishers to always issue the guide two years in advance!
Below is a breakdown of it's good and bad points

Layout
Record Collector are still working on this, while the basic layout is unchanged artists such as The Beatles, where the listings are very complex have been enhanced. It can still get a little confusing especially if you are looking for promos or export issues. Overall the layout is excellent, and you should not have any problem finding items you are valuing.

Coverage
In our review of the 2002 edition we pointed out that while for 50s/60s releases this is definitely the definative guide it was weak on modern dance and indie. This remains the case. Many more dance releases have entered the pages however there are thousands of collectable releases not listed and this presents a real challenge to the RC team. While it is undertandable that many prices fluctuate rapidly in this area there are also a lot of items that fetch consistently high values and should have been included.

Below is a breakdown of the guides strenghts and weaknesses. (Note: only areas where the guide is especially good/bad, or has made improvements are discussed!)

Excellent
50s/60s (all aspects covered in detail)
70s rock, prog and Jazz
Most 80s releases

Good
Punk and early indie (has caught up on prices and even reflects the decline in prices for obscure punk)
70s/80s funk/disco (still room for improvement)
Rock/Metal (Has started to reflect the surge in demand for Thrash/Death rareties)
Promos (RC continue to include more promos, however many rare items are still ommited)
90s Small label indie (Definite improvement from the 2002 edition)

Lacking
90s Dance (only long established acts are covered, and these are often overvalued!)
Areas where the demand is primarily from overseas.

In truth the marketplace is changing faster now than ever before and this guide could do with being published annually. RC still need to make headway when it comes to reflecting trends in the online market.

summary
Unless you are a dance fanatic, this is the only guide to buy! it has failings, but these are confined to specialist areas. The cover price remains very reasonable for such a weighty tome.

To Buy
Offline you will need to buy Record Collector and order direct from the publishers
Alternatively you can order from your local bookseller quoting the Ref ISBN 0 9532601-3-5
Online Click Here to order from Amazon (delivery in December)
I get a referral fee from the above link, this costs you nothing, however if you would prefer me not to get the fee....Click here

Related links
Selling your collection? Advice page (Moremusic)
UK Online record price guides Small site, but covers some areas ommited in the RC guide (exteranl)
Recordmaster Searchable database of record values (exteranl)
RC Price Guide 2002 Review (2000) The previous edition of this guide (Moremusic)
UK Price Guide Reviews (1998) (Moremusic)






The Music Database Supply Industry

This may seem like a pretty geeky topic to cover in detail in a collector's forum, however the few companies in the database Supply Industry provide core information to most of the online retailers you use. It is their innovation that will continue to make it easier and easier for you to find music online.

For small retailers use of databases often goes little further than handling a few spreadsheets, but for the big web retailers it a desperately vital issue. The site that can provide the best catalogue AND supply every title listed is the one that you and I will turn to for our CDs

A lot of the optimism that surrounded the explosion in share values for companies like Amazon and Cdnow was the idea that with nothing more than a database they could take on the high street retailers. It sounds wonderful, take orders off your website, order the item from the distributor and ship it out. No extensive stock to hold, no internal distribution, very low overheads, satisfied customers and potentially huge profits.

However there is no centralised database for music releases that sellers can turn to, and no compunction on the part of record labels to tell anyone what they have released or deleted. Furthermore most sellers buy from distributors, middlemen who they trust to keep the catalogue updated, this merely lengthens the chain of supply and results in more problems.

Ladislav Hanousek of CDI - CD Central explains. "The way it usually works to learn a title has 'died' is that a distributor lists a CD until someone orders it and it comes back listed ON THE INVOICE from the record label as deleted. Then a good distributor takes it off their own list; a bad one does nothing and keeps offering it even when the title does not ship anymore..

Another problem is the actual availability of any title may change back and forth frequently. It must be said that (barring the record label specifying a title on the invoice as deleted), the distributor has no way of knowing if an ordered CD has not shipped only because it is temporarily out of stock, or because it is now deleted and 'dead'".

It is the job of people like Ladislav to provide the most accurate database of what has been released, what is still available and what is deleted. This is no small task, which may explain why very few companies have attempted it. Russell Turner of the UKs Red Publishing Explains.

"To research and update our databases to ensure they contain all the latest new / pre release information and amendments to back catalogue data it is necessary for us to employ a team full time editorial / research staff. Over 1000 new releases are added to our databases each week together with over 900 amendments made to back catalogue recordings" (And that is just for UK releases)

The risk to suppliers, of piracy is real, the information is not intellectual property, (though the layout can be copyrighted) and as such is much harder to protect than music. However Russell's statement above gives a major clue, while by devious means you might get our hands on the current database, it would soon be out of date. In Ladislav's words: "We list at this time product from some 18,000 labels. It is a sheer impossibility for a single person to stay in touch with so many sources in 24 time zones around the world on regular basis." Oh, and just one other thing, Russell Turner Explains "There are a number of seeded entries (false labels, artists and recordings) on our databases. If someone were to infringe our copyright it would be easily identifiable which has been proved in the past." Interestingly this method would be considered illegal in the USA; that said, SearchRED is so far the only company to offer an online version with the security risks that entails.

One of the most interesting developments in the last couple of years has been the way in which companies like Half.com and Spun in tying barcode numbers to full descriptions of items. Sellers can type in the barcode number and Half.com will do the rest, providing track lists and images. This will be the way forward, as it will massively reduce the data input that sellers need to make. So Far the model has only worked in the USA. I turn to Ladislav again for an explanation "In fact the UPC as 'universal product code' is anything BUT universal. The same CD has a different bar code in North America (UPC), Japan (JAN) and Europe (EAN). As such it is STILL no good for exclusive use."

It is not even THAT simple, Some UK releases use UPC Codes some EAN, and in cases where spare stock has been moved around the world some releases may have used both! That said SearchRED state that they now have barcode numbers tied to 80% of UK CDs and CDI - CD Central carry all 3 codes on most of their entries with up to 97% coverage, so expect something similar to Half.com to arrive on this side of the pond soon.

Price the main question I put to suppliers, and all felt that the prices of up to £600P/A were more than justified by the sheer work involved in creating these databases, more contentious is the issue of whether price is cutting many small retailers out. In the end that may be beyond the control of even the suppliers, each seller has to make their own decision as to the value of having this sort of information on tap. Also this is a growth industry, so expect prices to fall, however it seems unlikely that this information will ever be free to collectors.

Finally, will you have a perfect e-commerce site, where every item you order is in stock and as described? No! The reason is simple, no matter how good the companies who supply databases at their job get labels and distributors will continue to provide out of date information. Perhaps it is for the better, if everything you ordered always arrived in the post the next day; collecting would be a little less fun!

Links:
CDI - CD Central the oldest & largest global cd database (est. 1982) - find anything!
Muse US Supplier
SearchRED Provides on-line access to red's databases listing 700,000 recordings.

Free sites, User provided and as such partly incomplete
CDDB Lists most CDs, you can search by song title and find which album it is on.
Recordmaster Rare and collectable releases with valuations.




Policy on shop Names

Problem with some names being submitted
Due to the high number of shops attempting to gain high position on the directory with names like Aardvark, A1, A+, aaron etc. We Will only list those with overwhelming evidence that this is their established trading name.

To qualify a site must have an existing Domain or bricks and mortar shop by the name.

If this is not the case we will select the owners real name or email as the shop name for the purposes of directory listing.
Furtharmore in the new Year we plan to have "Inverted listing" weeks, when the directory will start with Z in order to give those at the very end a fair slice of the referrals!





Price Guide Review

Record Collector Rare Record Price Guide 2002 ISBN 0 9532601-1-9

The New Record Collector Guide hits the shops in December 2000.
To get an advance copy you must buy the November issue of Record Collector Magazine and use the order form enclosed.
Below is a breakdown of it's good and bad points

Layout
Record Collector have continued to pay close attention to layout and the guide is easier than ever to use. Artists such as The Beatles, where the listings are very complex have been embelished with photos in order to aid the user. This is a feature which needs to be extended to more artists.
The layout of the book remains excellent, and you should not have any problem finding items you are valuing.

Coverage
More could have been done to extend the coverage of the guide. In 2 the years since the last edition it has has not grown that much. Areas such as Modern Dance and small independant releases are still under represented while for 50s/60s releases this is definitely the definative guide.
Below is a breakdown of the guides strenghts and weaknesses. (Note: only areas where the guide is especially good/bad, or has made improvements are discussed!)

Excellent
50s/60s (all aspects covered in detail)
70s rock, prog and Jazz
Most 80s releases

Good
Punk and early indie (now reflects the growth in demand for these)
70s/80s funk/disco (much improved on the 2000 Edition)
Rock/Metal (Thrash/Death is under represented)
Promos (RC have made considerable effort to include more promos, however many rare items are still ommited)

Lacking
90s Dance (only long established acts are covered)
Small label indie
Areas where the demand is Net based.

The failure to keep up with the online market may be deliberate, prices on The Net fluctuate rapidly, and to reflect them exactly in a guide that will not be revised for 2 years would be folly. That said, acts such as Catherine Wheel where demand from the US has consitently forced up prices have seen no alteration since the last guide....
I suspect Record Collector remain unsure of how to react to the changes The Net is bringing to the collectrs market, indeed their introductory notes, while noting the rise in online collecting are somewhat dismissive.

summary
This remains by far the best guide on the market, it has failings, but these are confined to small specialist areas. If you want to value your collection this is the only guide that truly reflects the value of UK pressings.

To Buy
This guide is now Out of Print and has been superceded by the 2004 Guide
Related links
UK Price Guide Reviews Includes previous edition of this guide (Moremusic)
Selling your collection? Advice page (Moremusic)
UK Online record price guides Small site, but covers some areas ommited in the RC guide (exteranl)
Recordmaster Searchable database of record values (exteranl)



Record Dealer discussion Forums

The UK shops discussion group has been running quietly on Egroups for sometime now this group is run by invite only and is for UK record dealers to discuss their trade.
Following a number of applications to join by dealers from Outside the UK We have decided to set up 2 less closely moderated groups

Record dealers
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/recorddealers
recorddealers-subscribe@yahoogroups.com (To Join)
Open to record dealers from anywhere in the world
US Shops
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/usshops
usshops-subscribe@yahoogroups.com (To Join)
Open to US record dealers

The FAQ and help files for these groups are not yet complete, but feel free to join and get the discussions going!

Also Already Up and running are the following....
Yahoo's Record Dealers Club
http://clubs.yahoo.com/clubs/recorddealersclub
(founded by sbrecords)

Recdealers Egroups forum
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/recdealers
This is a announce/info list for record dealers within Scandinavia





Alterations to Email Coding on the directories

14/03/00
I have altered the nature of the Email links on all the directories. I know that some folks like to work their way through the listings and email all relevant dealers, this is fine, however a big problem was developing with automated commercial spam.

what is Spam?
Spam is any unwanted or unsolicted email, the sort of spam we are concerned with here is bulk commercial email.
If you have never had spam offering you one or another quick route to a fortune, you have been lucky.

Why is it a problem?
In the UK we still have to pay to connect to the internet, so WE pay to download emails that are entirely irrelevant and unsolicied.
About 2 years ago spammers developed software that could lift all the email addresses from webages. The software is similar to that used by search engines to index websites.
robots follow links from one website to another and spider the pages looking for any text strings that contain the @ symbol. These are assumed to be email addresses and are harvested for later use in mass emailing.

These pages contain the emails of over 300 shops, they are also linked to from over 100 other sites. the result of this is that they are getting all to frequently spidered and everyone listed is getting the resultant junk email.

What we have done?
We have replaced every email with the Ascii code for @. If you click one of the email links your computer should see it as an email and load your mail program.
Hopefully most spammers software will miss the links and fail to harvest emails on our pages.
Yo may see something other than the @ symbol displayed in emails shown on our pages.

If you cannot send emails by clicking on the email links, you will need to copy the email address and repalce @ with @ (If you allready see an @ great! just copy and paste the email!)
Sorry for the extra hassle, we too, would love a spam free internet!

What else are we doing?
Not all the emails on these pages are what they seem...
We have extra links that are actually forwarded to More Music. So when the pages have been spidered, we get the spam several times over. (in this way we can immediately spot the professional spammers).
When this happens we complain to the Internet Service providers who have carried the email, Most are innocent parties, and will act quickly to close both webpages and email accounts promoted by spamming.
By Always copmlaining we have become known to some spammers, but there are always new ones.

I too get spam...what can i do?
visit http://www.spamfree.org/ Start by reading their Spam Primer Page
they have lots of tips on combatting spam, also never reply to spammmer, and never buy anything from them!





EMI Warner merger. What does it mean for You?.

The Feeding frenzy amongst the global corporations may affect us all. this is a topic we will no doubt touch on again.

The inevitable has finally been announced. EMI was out of step with the global nature if the music biz.

All its rivals had long ago tied up with bigger entertainment conglomerates and to hold it's own EMI would need to follow suit

The New Company will have a backcatalogue totaling 2 million songs and control a quarter of the worlds music industry. It is also well placed for sales on the net as Time and AOL merged only 2 weeks ago.

This is all about the perceived future of music on the Net. All the big corporations accept that many more of us will buy our music online and they want to be in the best position to sell it to us. Expect to see more internet/entertainment tie-ups this year. Also expect online mergers as the big companies attempt to gobble up the more popular Internet domains that control access to digital download.

The big players still need to agree a secure method of download that will protect them against piracy, then they will put much their back catalogue on line available for purchase and download. It is money for old rope but they may find it harder to sell new music.

The rapid growth of Internet sites that allow bands to upload songs and sell direct to the public is a serious threat to the big companies who are not popular in their own right… George Michael's lost battle with Sony only served to reinforce the feeling amongst artists that the ever shrinking clan of global record companies are top heavy, greedy and not really interested in the well being of the bands they "own".

Assuming that we the public are willing to pay just as much for downloads as we are or hard copy CDs why should any of us go to the big companies, Many artists already sell direct and for established acts the benefits of cutting out the middlemen are obvious.

Of course there is no guarantee that we will buy this way? At present there is no resistance to the new Media, they are cheap and convenient but once we start being told this is how we WILL buy our music things may change.

In the long term the big companies will need to offer more than download to hold onto their customers and rosters. They know that they need to be big enough to exert control over the web to stand a chance of having things their way.

Links

Intenet Transforms Music Industry BBC
EMI and Warner Set to Merge BBC
Back to UK Shops

Policy on listing referral site

These are "Stores" which have no stock and sell for the major sites that offer referral fees

17th September 1999
There are a growing number of sites appearing on other directories such as UBL which have no actual content, but simply link to CD now and Amazon and claim referral fees.
While I have nothing against these sites I have decided not to list them, The directory already lists the major sites and I will be offering nothing new to visitors by listing sites which do the same.
Referral sites with specialist content and their own reviews may be listed if their content is very good.
Jules




UK Price Guides, April 1999

UK Price Guides Review
The Main UK Guides assessed


The UK has 2 Major Price Guides for Record collectors,

Record Collector Rare Record Price Guide 2000 ISBN 0 9532601
Oct 2000 The 2002 guide has now been reviewed!


This is the longest running guide, though only more recently has it has been published in a user friendly layout.
It's layout is now very convenient, though on bands with a large catalogue it can be a little hard to follow.
The big plus to this guide is that it is written in wide consultation with record dealers. It is particularly strong on 50s/60s releases but has failings in specialist areas such as Northern Soul and modern dance.
It is quick to pick up on modern releases that become collectable, unfortunately it is only published bi-annually, the next edition not being due until November 2000. Its listings for the new teen acts such as Billie are already well out of date.
You can catch up on recent values by buying the Monthly Record Collector Magazine, but you are at the mercy of which bands they decide to cover. When records fall in value it can be slower to react.
It lists the value for records in Mint Condition, and provides a grading system and ready reckoner at the back for you put an exact value on your records
This Guide has wide recognition in the UK, most dealers pay at least some attention to it's content.
In summary this is an Excellent Guide, You can value your collection with a high degree of confidence. It needs to be published annually.
The print run ended summer 2000. Please proceed to To read about the 2004 edtion
Return to "Selling your collection"


Penguin Price Guide for Record and Compact Disc Collectors ISBN 0 140513914

Formerly published by Music Master.
This guide has a fundamental problem in having only one author. While Nick Hamlyn's knowledge is huge, no dealer can know everything and the prices quoted in this guide are often wayward.
It's strengths are in 60s and 70s Jazz and rock, it is very lacking on modern releases. A look at The Manic Street Preachers listing shows some titles listed at 10% of their current market value.
He also has a tendency to overvalue records he likes, particularly prog rock, Jazz and Psych.
On the plus side he lists important overseas pressings, that are common in the UK (Record collector does not.) He also lists 2 prices, one for VG condition and one for mint. This is worthwhile, some records are near worthless if damaged, others hold their value, particularly those in demand from DJs who are less fussy than collectors! Having said that he fails to provide an accurate description of what he considers VG to be...
Perhaps the best part of the guide is the introduction, with details of labels and an informative glossary of Music styles and labels.
In summary this is a second rate guide, however it has strengths, hopefully Record Collector will pick up on these!
Buy
Return to "Selling your collection"
Other methods for valuation.

The major dealers in the UK publish Wants lists try Opal and Energy Mail Order, they generally pay around half the selling price, these lists are handy for getting an up to date price.
For less rare Items, check the price on larger websites such as GEMM and by searching Completed Auctions on eBay.
You can also post to the Newsgroups rec.music.marketplace.vinyl, rec.music.marketplace.cd and alt.collecting.records asking for a valuation
For more tips on getting valuations see Selling your records

Remember...a price guide is indeed only a GUIDE....and a rare record is ultimately only worth what YOU are willing to pay for it!





Site du Jour of the Day, January 1999

(990105) UK online Record Shops directory
http://www.moremusic.co.uk/links/uk_shops.htm

More Music
Swansea, West Wales




There used to be a time, early in the history of the United States when an item that was manufactured overseas and marked "Imported" was a big deal.
As the world became a smaller place and domestic production increased, the prestige of imports gave way to a feeling of lesser quality. Things change, and eventually US concerns flooded the world market with mass production.
From the clothes people wear right down to the food put on tables. Popular Culture is probably the most influential/destructive thing to be exported.
Music fans would seek out American records during the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. North American Jazz, Rhythm and Blues and ultimately Rock and Roll records started to dominate world charts. This stills occurs, but along the way things turned back on the US. Volumes could be written about the influence on American Popular Culture acts like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones had, especially the demands created and placed on the music industry by artists and consumers alike.
Patterns established early in the game included the release of completely different product versions being marketed in different countries. Music fans can still wait months for a single to be released domestically and will frequently seek out a copy of the recording from a store specializing in imported albums and singles or simply contact a store in their country of choice. At no time in the history of the world has that been easier than now.
The Internet has made it possible for people to shop on a global level and More Music is one such business making this possible. Focusing on hard to find items, More Music has an impressive site for a company dealing in secondhand records, etc. Even more impressive is the listing they provide for hundreds of other shops and labels in the UK. Ideal for travelers and/or individuals seeking out a record never released at home or just curious about up and coming talent. The list contains pointers and e-mail addresses along with a brief listing of each store's specialty.
Make certain to visit the main More Music site (http://www.moremusic.co.uk/) while you're there.

 Visit Site du Jour of the Day For other Website Reviews





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