Discogs Sharks and Your Opinions


From the RA Label of the Week Spotlight on is / was

"Sharks scoop up the available copies of rare records before they get expensive so they can blow them up by posting rips of the music on their YouTube channels. Then they resell the stock they now monopolize at a high premium. On the contrary, was / is undercuts Discogs scalpers and taps the original producer back into a share of the profits of the revitalized demand for their work. "

Everyone has different opinions on Discogs and how it is changing the world of music. Curious to what people think about the above practices, how each play a role in our communities, and what folks’ personal experience on Discogs has been. Also interested to hear where folks think record and digital music buying platforms are headed in the future.


i buy odds and ends on Discogs. nothing over $20. i gravitate to CDs of older albums not available on Boomkat, Bleep, or Bandcamp and then rip them to my HD.


Do you use it to find music you hadn’t been aware of? Or just stuff you can’t find elsewhere? Are the comments helpful or is it simply a marketplace and not a knowledge base for u?


almost always a case of something I came across in real life or on a list somewhere online. like, I can’t tell you how long I’ve been scoping Nighttime World vols, 1 and 2 by Robert Hood, waiting for the price to come down :sob: or this lovely release that someone here linked in one of the threads.

to me, Discogs is not a great place to “discover” despite the wonderful functionality of cross-referencing artists and labels. it’s too disjointed, too incomplete, and too user-generated to be much use to me. mind you, I use it quite often simply as a reference.


i’ve seen the deep existential FOMO that comes along with a new giegling release, the bottomless despair and why me?? over not getting the new prince of doomark. where to direct the blame: the sharks? the label who thrives on the limited supply and won’t tell you if they’ll repress? ones self for not clicking fast enough? for not coughing up your rent dollars for that sexy bright wax which you probably will rip yourself into iTunes and listen to it on ur phone anyway while walking down the street thinking i’m fuckin 2 rad for this world i listen 2 PrINZ of denmirk with a fat grin


i mean, i really like my copy of dj healer’s nothing to loose. its great to be able to have it on wax and i’m glad i bought it directly from them. the music is fucking good. it makes me feel good. the fact that other people like it too makes me feel good. the fact that nobody knows who makes it makes me feel good. the fact that there are 10 covers for it is cool to me. the fact that it sells for $70 right now makes me feel like I pulled the trigger when I should have, it’s worth that amount. You writing this has caused me to learn that this person has a new alias, Golden Baby. That makes me happy as I listen to the new stuff.

I could give a flying fuck about people who get angry, smug, or judgemental about the music. That’s their issue, not mine.


what i was interested in was having a discussion about how people use discogs and their opinion on how it inflates or deflates the value of music. also how we see people who act as speculators in vinyl via the website. it seems now that people are using discogs comments to promote as well, or at least curate rarities into some sort of following.


I’ve never experienced pre discogs record selling & buying, but I imagine that it has hugely democratised it. Yes sure there are established discogs sellers, but if you are thinking of buying and selling it is much easier to actually understand what a fair price for that record is. I don’t doubt that there used to be a lot more information asymmetry that allowed established sellers and buyers with access to that information to fuck others over.


Also I think there would be a lot less antipathy towards scalpers, giegling etc if with all new releases(with the exception of unlicensed edits etc) record labels just also put out some way of accessing a high quality version of the music digitally e.g. bandcamp. Vinyl exclusivity always smacks to me of elitism; sure make the physical record a limited pressing if you like, but give those other than the chosen few a chance to appreciate it. If the music is good then people want to hear it and if the only way to hear it is by the grace of some shark who snapped up as many copies as they could of course they are going to make a killing.


ahahahaha you should put that on your gravestone

I have a feeling that this phenomena is but one small microcosm of a vast cosmos of user activity on the site. there are probably just as many people totally caught up fretting over catalog numbers and runout groove etchings of obscure Armenian jazz records from the 70s as there are sharks ruining the Insta-flex of the RA set.


I buy and sell on discogs.

Buying: I have a wishlist of things I want. A mixture of things I used to have on CD and would love on vinyl, and things I have never had but would like to have a physical copy of. I don’t live anywhere near any real record shops, so discogs is realistically the only place I’m going to get this stuff. Because I’m a terrible proscrastinator I regularly check the marketplace for newly listed wishlist items. Because postage can be expensive, if I see something crop up, I always check a seller’s other inventory to see if I can combine shipping for cheaper per-item postage. This often leads to interesting new discoveries of things I never knew I wanted / never knew existed.

Selling: I sell for two reasons.
a) Clearing out stuff from my personal collection that I no longer listen to, and selling it at the lower end of the going rate (so that it’s priced to sell, but still worth the effort of listing / packing / going to the post office)
b) Seeing things cheap - charity shops, car boot sales etc - and selling them on for a mark-up, but still to be at the lower end of the going rate. I see this as providing a redistribution service. I’m putting the effort into crate digging (which I admittedly love doing), and finding something that someone else might want, and then charging them a fair price for it.

In both cases, I always aim to have the cheapest available copy for the item’s condition.

What I have sometimes done: seen something cheap on Amazon (because often Amazon does odd things with their automated pricing), bought two copies of it, one to keep, and the other to sell on discogs for enough to cover the cost of both of them. So I’ve effectively got something for free.

What I’ve never done, and don’t think I would ever do, because it leaves an unpleasant taste: buy multiple copies of a brand new limited release in order to sell at vastly above the initial sale price.


sure, but i’m still interested in talking about this phenomena because i am in the RA set, not the Armenian jazz set, what does that have to do with our discussion?


yeah shipping costs and combining records into a package from seller tend to be the way i find new music on discogs, but i’ve never sold.

i just think its interesting that people actually attempt to buy up and control output of records for their own financial gain, like what could they really be making off these records, $500 max??

But if there were a reason to do so, like say to back a certain style of music with a shit ton of comments and then buy it all to make it hard to find and rare, thus increasing the interest in it, which in turn increases interest in your label that just so happens to release the same style of music, you might be compelled to snatch up and post rips…this could be a successful business model.


Yeah, but it’d be a pretty much guaranteed $500 for little effort, and it’s within their area of expertise. I mean, regardless of morals/ethics, there’s money to be made every time there’s a limited release of anything, if you know what you’re doing and if you’re in a position to do it. The same people might just as easily flip antique furntiture, it’s just that they don’t know what they’re doing, so there are no guarantees.

Depends on your morals and depends on how much you need the money. I’ve bought things for £5 that I’ve then immediately sold for £12, for instance, and I have no moral issue with that, because the people buying it for £12 are happy to pay £12, and they’d never have found it where I found it. And you might say why bother, you’re only making £7, but damn, I need that £7. But pouncing on Giegling stuff with no intention of listening to it, specifically to sell on at a huge mark-up to someone who wasn’t quick enough to get it? Dick move, but guaranteed easy money.


all i mean to say is that the phenomena probably appears more pronounced to you because you’re in the weeds of it.


Discogs sharks have always had a heavy lockdown on dubstep, everyone in the scene knows it. This is largely a result of lots of vinyl-only releases with limited presses, flagship labels, clearly defined labels which are well-known for being the originators of the genre, and lots and lots of hype. Hype is the main driving force. It’s the reason why there’s loads of dubstep groups on social medias banging on about every forthcoming release, every long-awaited dub about to come out, every 12" about to be up on sites. I remember when Commodo, Kahn, Gantz - Volume 1 on Deep Medi was announced, when it got put up on Redeye it sold out in an hour, and they must have pressed a ton for it. Now it’s on Discogs for $60+. Today imo, it’s not as bad as it was back then (as in 2015). Labels are actively making sure that the demand is as much as the supply and some labels have been proactive in taking steps against sharks. Innamind slagged off Tanmushimushi, this one shark who ran a shop in Nottingham, and Score5ive blacklisted anyone who bought direct and attempted to sell straight away to discogs.


I had a similar experience a little ago for an R&B single I REALLY liked but was super rare. To give a little bit of background, it was remix to the song, Burnin’ Up by Faith Evans and produced by Just Blaze. Though I liked the song I wasn’t willing to spend the $45 that it was being offered at. Come to find out that copy was sold and the only available one was by a different seller @ $100 dollars. Tried negotiating back the average price but he/she was a dick and wasn’t willing to budge.

Waited a full six months to see if they’d lower. Still there but same price. Ended up caving. Thinking I had gotten the last of any available copies of the single the greedy son of bitch posted another copy at that exact same price. From the looks of it the seller must have had a handful of copies and now that they’re the only ones selling this rare single, they felt justified in shafting buyers. My only regret is that I had purchased it from the prior seller listing it at $5.