Coffee & Vinyl owner Lars about vinyl pricing

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Our recent article ‘We Need To Talk About Discogs Sharks’ follows a series of on- and offline debates about the price of vinyl records. The discourse relied upon the statistics of a few national and international Record Store Day 2019 releases for sale on online marketplace Discogs. One of the sellers quoted in the article is Antwerp based record shop Coffee & Vinyl:

Prices for the Record Store Day release by the Belgian band Whispering Sons ‘On Image a live session’ limited to 500 copies go up to 36,90 euro, while the original price was around 20 euro. Dutch webstore Variaworld even has seven mint copies for sale (five for 36,90 and two for 49,90 euro), while Antwerp record shop Coffee & Vinyl sells at 200% of the original price.

Coffee & Vinyl is the cosy record slash coffee shop of Lars Cosemans. We portrayed Lars and his shop in the first edition of the book ‘Red Bull Belgium: The Vinyl Frontier’. The article and pictures are still available on our website. 

Lars contacted us after reading our article. We had a long phone call in which Lars explained us his point of view, as record shop owner.

 “The business is changing rapidly. As a record shop specialised in both old and new music, we target a rather small niche audience. With many shops back in the game, both small new initiatives as large retail chains such as Media Markt or Fnac, the profit margins are small. For every record sold, we earn just a few euro. There is no way we can compete with these chain stores, who are able to buy big volumes.”

We are much more than just a record shop. We offer quality coffee, advice, a homely setting, …

“I feel sad when hearing criticism from vinyl enthusiasts about vinyl pricing. People are used to buying a pair of jeans for 200 euro, but when a record becomes a collectible and thus more expensive, it’s almost a crime. Yes, we do use the mechanics of the market and play with prices in order to actually make some money. Those who are shouting and criticizing should better be well informed before they rest their case.”

“It’s a though business with many costs: rent, social security, taxes, wages, and so on. I’m 100% official, but I see some shops sell records on Discogs with secret alter egos in order to avoid taxes. That’s a shame, I’ll always be fully transparent about my products and prices. I also noticed customers buying records here and selling them for the double or triple price on Discogs afterwards. It’s very discouraging to see your hard labour be capitalised by someone else.”

“I don’t understand why books get a 6% TVA/BTW rate, while vinyl is at 21%. Shouldn’t this be equal?”