Sometimes, I like to take some time out for myself, play my Tracy Chapman record, and chill. However, these cozy moments are getting a tad pricier. This made me wonder: why is Tracy Chapman vinyl so expensive?
While Tracy Chapman’s first album alone sold millions worldwide in 1988, those sales have declined over the years, making her records less popular to find around. Plus, with the rise of CDs in the same year that Chapman made her great debut, vinyl just wasn’t in high demand.
So don’t worry! I won’t leave you in the dark. I’ll tell you everything you need to know about why this vinyl is so expensive. For example, did you know that Tracy won more than one Grammy award?
Why Is Tracy Chapman Vinyl so Expensive?
If you are shopping for vinyl records by Tracy Chapman, you can expect to pay more than you would if you were shopping for other artists. Let me show you why this is so.
1. Supply and Demand
If you look at how the market works, you’ll see that when something is desired by the public, many manufacturers will create it and sell it for a profit. To put it another way, if there’s demand, then there will be a supply.
Fortunately for us, when there are multiple suppliers, the competition between them can get fierce. So to sell their product, they must somehow make it more popular than the competing ones. One way to do this is to lower the price.
In contrast, this process completely changes when those two factors (supply and demand) collide. If the demand is through the roof with not many manufacturers out there to supply, the prices will vary considerably or even skyrocket!
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The demand for Tracy Chapman’s vinyl certainly isn’t as great today as it was before. While Justin Bieber and Harry Styles are everywhere, Tracy Chapman’s albums are far less mass-produced.
Thus, you won’t find many suppliers willing to make our wishes come true and listen to some sweet blues on vinyl. What you’ll find though, is someone possibly charging you over $80 for vinyl!
2. Better Than MP3s
I recently discovered that vinyl sounds better than MP3. Perhaps not better than CDs, but certainly more pleasing than the MP3s I’ve been using for years.
You know how when you listen to music on a streaming service or on an MP3, it doesn’t sound quite as good as when you hear it live? Well, that’s because most of those formats are compressed, which means that some audio data could get lost during the process.
The only way to listen to your favorite songs, in their full glory, is on vinyl. Vinyl records don’t lose any audio data as other formats do. They’re pressed directly from original master recordings so they sound just like they should: crisp and clear with every note and lyric intact.
However, even the slightest tear or scratch in a record will cause you to hear an occasional pop or hiss when playing it. So if you get your hands on one of her records, be sure to check it thoroughly for damage and take good care of it.
Do you know when the first time Tracy Chapman got the recognition she deserves? It was when she graced our ears in an opening act for Linda Tillery at the Boston Strand Theater back in 1985. A few years later, in 1988 to be exact, Chapman released her first album.
You might be asking yourself, what’s the importance of all this information? Well, take a look at the dates. When her first album was released it was when CDs (compact discs) were pushing their way throughout society.
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CDs, as their name suggests, are more compact than vinyl and can be carried anywhere. Their sales rose quickly after their invention and soon were neck to neck with vinyl in 1978. However, when 1988 kicked in, CDs actually started to outsell vinyl around the USA.
So, if you’re a manufacturer or a supplier, would you make what people want to buy or what they don’t? Hence, vinyl was losing popularity and its market started to drop significantly until it almost became a rare item.
4. Chapman’s Personality
Sometimes, you need to listen to an artist’s music the way that the artist wants you to hear it. That way, you’ll experience the full magic of their lyrics and music. If you’re a big fan of Chapman’s (like me!), you probably know that she has a low opinion of social media.
In an interview, Tracy said to the Associated Press that when you get into the world of social media, in some way, you end up being a part of it. Now going back to our LPs, any clever record seller knows this piece of information.
It’s not really like it’s hidden anyway. But this little fact helped boost the price in its own way. Now the record isn’t just an album that you can listen to, but it’s a way to connect with the artist without ads or popups on streaming services.
In essence, it’s a step away from the online world where chaos reigns, and toward how Chapman views the world.
5. Multiple Awards.
Hear me out, I’m not saying the vinyl should be expensive but, have you seen how many awards and certificates Tracy Chapman has?
Just look at her song “Fast Car”! Fast Car was the sixth pop hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in August 1988. Furthermore, the song is ranked No.167 on Rolling Stone’s list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”
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Moreover, Tracy Chapman’s self-titled album, let’s not forget it’s her first, actually went multi-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). She also won, not one, not two, but three Grammy Awards in 1989!
Plus, those three Grammys weren’t the only ones she got. In 1997, almost ten years later, her song “Give Me One Reason” won her another Grammy for “Best Rock Song.”
Looking at this extensive resume, do you still wonder why Tracy Chapman’s vinyl is so expensive?