RECORD COLLECTOR MAGAZINE
Record Collector was first published in 1979, and the magazine quickly established itself as the bible of pop and rock history. When the magazine was born, record collecting was a small, rather disorganised business, which wasn't making much effort to encourage new people to get involved.
From the start, Record Collector set out to provide the information that collectors needed, whether they'd been buying and selling records for years, or were just starting to build up a collection. There were two vital things they wanted to know: what records had been released by their favourite artists, and how much were they worth?
Every issue of Record Collector has provided complete discographies (lists of record releases, complete with full catalogue numbers, release dates and current Mint values) for an amazing variety of performers, from pre-rock stars like Frank Sinatra to the latest chart-bound arrivals and cult indie bands, via every imaginable style and genre along the way. Our in-depth features have provided the essential information to help readers get the most out of their music – by explaining the history of the artists and the records.
THE CHANGING FACE OF THE RARE RECORD PRICE GUIDE
In 1987, we published our first price guide - a slim volume which was designed as a quick and easy reference source to records by around 2,000 important artists.
That was only the beginning, though. We soon began work on the first edition of the book. Published in late 1992, the first Rare Record Price Guide filled 960 pages and listed 60,000 rare and collectable records.
The response to that book was tremendous, but we quickly realised that the collecting market was changing so fast that we couldn't rest on our laurels. Every year, thousands of new records reach the shops, in a bewildering variety of formats - everything from 7" singles and cassettes to expensive multi-CD box sets.
A small but sizeable proportion of these new releases became instant collector's items. Over the last 20+ years, it's been common for record companies to issue special limited editions – anything from a few hundred to a few thousand copies – which sell out in a few days. The most sought-after of these records can triple or quadruple their value within a few months.
At the same time, interest in vinyl from the past continues to grow. As collectors track down all the records they want in a particular genre, they start to broaden their horizons. As a result, obscure items from the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s become much-wanted treasures on the collectors' market – and their prices rise to reflect the new demand.
That's why we published a second edition, a year later, which grew to 1152 pages, with 70,000 records listed. And this was expanded again for the 1995 edition (over 75,000 entries and 1252 pages) and 1997/98 edition (85,000 entries and 1440 pages), to take in all the latest collectable releases.
The Millennium Edition ran to 1504 pages; another two years on, the Rare Record Price Guide 2002 was bigger than ever, the 2004 edition was 1536 pages the RRPG 2006 1504 pages and RRPG 2008 1408 pages. The 2010 edition, covered more than 50 years and, like the 2008 edition, contains coloured images.
THE BIRTH OF COLLECTING
When the collecting scene was in its infancy in the 1970s, the market was focused on particular artists or genres. All the early attention was concentrated on 1950s rock'n'roll, and 1960s beat music. In addition, major artists like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley and David Bowie began to attract specialist collectors. But the whole collecting scene blossomed during the 1980s and it's now true to say that there aren't any musical styles which aren't collectable. folk, dub, jazz, techno, hip-hop, blues, heavy metal, punk, psychedelia, progressive rock, film soundtracks, soul, funk, reggae, disco, mainstream rock and pop, even easy listening - each genre boasts its share of in-demand rarities.
In the late 1970s, the arrival of punk spawned scores of new, independent record labels, which had fresh views about the way to market their releases. It became common for singles to appear in picture sleeves, as they had done overseas since the 1960s.
Records also began to appear on coloured vinyl or as picture discs, in an attempt to attract more buyers. Never slow to cash in on a marketing trend, the major record companies soon joined in. By the early 1980s, they were issuing a bewildering variety of editions of the same record in slightly different formats.
This sudden change in marketing techniques helped to trigger an entirely new development on the collecting scene. For the first time, records were becoming instant collector's items. A limited-edition single could be released one week, and sell for twice its retail price a fortnight later.
That opened the floodgates. No longer were 1950s and 1960s records the only things you'd find in the collector's shops. Now, it was open season, for anything and every-thing from Tubby Hayes to U2.
The arrival of CDs in the mid-1980s was greeted with doom and gloom in some quarters. But extensive remastering and reissue programs on CD have helped to increase the market for old vinyl releases.
If you grew up in the 1960s, you probably remember that it was difficult to find records that had been hits only a few years earlier. Now, you can go into most record stores and buy compilations and original albums with bonus tracks from every era of music history. For thousands of collectors, however, owning the music on CD or via download isn't enough – and they track down the original releases of music made and released before they were born.
The CD is now well established as a collectable format – particularly for promotional items, limited edition singles, and some original 80s albums which have yet to be remastered. Although digital downloading is now the norm, the CD still remains the dominant format on which music is "physically" bought worldwide.