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A Lot Of Employment Opportunities Can Be Very Interesting, Especially If They Happen To Involve Your Interests

As a music lover, one of the best jobs I’ve done in the past was working for an online organisation who specialised in selling rare and collectable music related items, like CDs, vinyl records and an incredible collection of memorabilia. The company has been around for approximately thirty years and began as a mail order business run from the lounge in one of the director’s homes. Over a period of time the business grew and discovered a massive market of music fans who wanted a little more than just the ordinary CD when their favourite band brought out a new album, and during the period that I worked with them the company occupied a big warehouse and an extra storage building.

It appears that the early collector’s market was initially kicked off by albums from the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Many early copies of their albums had limited runs in production, and it was quite usual for the label colours to change regularly, which meant that if you had got the album soon after it was released, there was an excellent chance that you would have something worth a few pounds. For example, albums like the original first pressing of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band with the cut-out insert, or the early copies of Sticky Fingers with the real zip as part of the cover are highly sought after – if you can find someone willing to sell. Many people would never sell their prized collections, and most of the older material that the company purchased came from people who had inherited them from a relative and had not much interest in music themselves, although we were also aware of some people who decided to sell their collections to fund cosmetic surgery, Laser eye surgery and university studies.

Another part of the market started to flourish with fans who had started to like an artist after two or three albums had been released who then wanted to track down and find all of the earlier releases so that they had a full collection of the artist’s recordings. A perfect example of this is the very first single release by Manic Street Preachers, which was limited to a very small number of copies, but which at the height of their fame several years ago was being sold for up to £750 – for a seven inch vinyl single with two songs on it, in an uninteresting picture cover. I certainly didn’t pay out that amount for my copy, but think what you could buy with that amount of money – a nice holiday somewhere warm, a posh designer outfit, Laser eye treatment or possibly a cheap second hand set of wheels!

So, with people searching for great condition second-hand products, there was a huge market to be harnessed and that is precisely what the company did, taking in unwanted CDs and publicising the availability of specific items to fans who had gaps in their collections.

After a while, the music marketing machine started to understand that dedicated collectors would stop at nothing to keep their collection complete and some record labels decided on what were in reality quite cynical marketing ploys, although they would probably not have admitted this to anyone else. By way of an example, a David Bowie ‘Best Of’ compilation released across the planet in 2002 had a different tracklisting for every single country in which it was issued, leading many fans to try and collect all of the different versions which were available. We can only ponder what Bowie himself might have spent his percentage of the profits on, but I’m sure he knows that no amount of money invested in Laser eye treatment will ever change both of his eyes to the same colour!

The other concept which record labels employed a little while ago was giving away extra items with CDs, ranging from keyrings, bonus recordings of live or previously unreleased songs, T-shirts, posters – in fact anything that the enthusiastic fan would be keen to add to their collection. There has recently been a clampdown on this kind of marketing, since it was wrongly increasing the sales of those artists whose products were being abused in this fashion, so fortunately we never sank to the depths of being offered free flights, vouchers for Laser eye surgery or teeth whitening or any other irrelevant rewards just for investing in a CD. But it didn’t stop individuals from investing in the things back then.

The people I worked for also had some great connections within the music industry in quite a few countries and as a consequence, we also sold numerous promotional items which had been sent to pluggers and DJs ahead of a release date and which they then often passed on to people they knew. Some of the buyers also obtained items such as tour itineraries and exclusive crew shirts from staff who had been involved in the tour, but didn’t want to hang on to the stuff once the tour was over. Some of the itineraries make fascinating reading!

I didn’t want to leave the job, as it was great fun working through a huge pile of music items, researching them if need be and then updating their descriptions on the website for people to browse. But sometimes a change is as good as a rest.

About Chuck

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