I have a younger brother and an older sister, both of whom have birthdays within three days of one another. As you can imagine, shopping is a nightmare. Sometimes, you find the perfect gift serendipitously, and sometimes you find yourself begging the giftee days before their birthday for some kind of inspiration.
This year I had the latter. My brother is a big music person, and much to his dismay, most people lump him in the category of “hipster” because he likes to know bands before anyone else. This in particular happened with fun. When the New York City band got big. He was proud of himself because he knew of it first. Of course, he also hated that everyone only knew two songs and ignored their previous discography (including Nate Ruess’ previous band The Format).
My brother proceeded to praise anyone who actually knew The Format, even if they just knew about the existence of the band. He has good reason to love this band with its indie vibe somewhere between rock and pop with great lyrics and an eclectic mix of instruments and sounds. The Format’s album Dog Problems, is actually my favorite, and is apparently the most popular with fun. and The Format fans.
Back to the present issue. So upon asking him what he wanted, my brother said, “Well, I would love some fun. or the Format albums on vinyl because somehow I don’t have many. The thing is… Dog Problems sells for anywhere between $300 – $400.” My jaw dropped, and I began the search. It turns out, he was correct.
Like anybody else, I find vinyl to be fantastic. It’s cool to have, and in fact, I prefer to buy my favorite bands’ music on vinyl and CDs because it’s nostalgic and I take my music seriously. Clearly, other people do as well, because unless you are ordering a vinyl copy of a record that is fairly recent or directly through the band’s website, typically the album is a second-sale and wildly expensive.
This general situation of my struggle to find Dog Problems on vinyl without selling some eBay user my firstborn child, left arm, and $500 got me thinking of other bands. For example, I thought of Jason Lancaster now of Go Radio, formerly of Mayday Parade, and how one hit song can make or break a band or artist’s entire future as a musician. For Nate Ruess, it made him, fun., and The Format household names, forever making “hipsters” like my brother a credible source for new music because he knew them first.
I can’t help but wonder if this is solely because of fans like my brother who find a sound they like (fun., Go Radio) and search for the artists’ past endeavors (The Format, Mayday Parade). Think it through: if no fun. fans had bought all of the The Format vinyl then I would be able to buy my brother one for $15.99 rather than $400.