When I think of “Hype” I think of the late 80’s band Snap.
and their amazing song “Believe The Hype”
and I’m afraid that tells you more about me than I intended to share… but this post is about another kind of Hype.
In my early days, when getting a new vinyl album, I tore off the shrink wrap as if it were the thin barrier between me and life itself, in order to get the vinyl out of the sleeve and onto the record player. All that outer layer got thrown away. It was not even a consideration.
I even remember that the paper sleeve on my “Led Zeppelin – In Through The Out Door” was deemed to cumbersome to use and it ended up disappearing at some point. It was not missed.
Then came the resurgence of my vinyl collecting in past years.
Suddenly, buying an album “in original shrink” became highly desired. Why? Simply because an album still in the shrink belied a gentle and meticulous former owner. Someone who cared enough to open the album carefully and not like the me from former years.
Also, if the original shrink was left, oftentimes the hype sticker was still affixed.
I go back and forth about shrink and hype. New albums often I keep the shrink on, unless it’s a gatefold, and then how can you not open it all the way up and have a look around inside?! It’s almost obligatory.
Brand new albums I put in poly sleeves to protect them. I am not opposed to buying a pretty gritty looking used record if the vinyl looks good, but if I get it new and mint, I like it to stay that way. Then the question becomes, what If it had a hype sticker, do you keep it? I cut the hype sticker off of the shrink on my gatefold copy of “Thee Oh Sees – Facestabber”. After I had done it, I kept it safe in my desk drawer, then realized how silly that was, and that it should be with the album and tucked it inside one of the sleeves. You guessed it, the next time I played the album, it fell to the bottom and I heard it get crushed when I shoved the sleeve back in after playing it. Ruined.
Are they of any value? Was that a loss? I don’t think I have ever seen anyone selling on Ebay a hype sticker on it’s own. It DOES seem to be a selling point however when trying to sell an album “w/hype sticker!”.
I started to think about records in my collection that still had intact hype stickers.
My “Jimi Hendrix – Axis: Bold As Love” has one. Obviously not an original pressing, but 20 years from now who knows how many more pressings there may be. I left it on.
Also still intact, the Loser Edition hype stickers on my “Flight Of The Conchords – Live In London” and “Metz – Strange Peace” albums. God bless Sub-Pop.
My Vinyl Me Please edition of “Miles Davis – Sorcerer” also has one.
I think for new albums, for the most part I do my best to keep them in the shrink in order to preserve the hype stickers (regretting my “Facestabber” decision – sad face here), but for me the bigger question is what to do with used albums.
Let’s be clear. When I buy a used album these days, it isn’t for motives of collecting them to resell them and retire one day, it’s to listen to for pure pleasure. I’ve actually been culling albums in my collection that I know I won’t listen to, even if they are (gasp!) part of a full run of some band. That whole paradigm shift for me is a whole post on it’s own.
Regardless, what to do about something like my recently purchased copy of “ABC – Lexicon Of Love”. In the picture below you can see the poly sleeve I bought it in (which of course I will switch out for the BCW Crystal Clear 2-Mil Polypropylene sleeve that I use. I NEED them all to be the same. You understand.) and the original shrink and hype sticker AND record store price sticker.
The original shrink is a mess. All bunched up. Look at the back!
Sigh. If I take it off though, I’ll lose the hype sticker.
Not as lovely as say the Sub-Pop Loser Edition hype sticker, but I still like it. Also, I would lose the store label.
I do love this kind of stuff. I mean, I am the guy who has tried to contact former album owners who put their names and addresses on record sleeves. This little sticker sent me down a very rewarding rabbit hole. This hole I dedicate to my friend Alan. He may appreciate it.
I found an image of another album with a JR’s sticker on Pinterest.
The poster of the image also had an image of an advertisement for JR’s Music Shop, which was apparently a chain.
Check out that Sony Walkman. The rest of the add seems unremarkable perhaps, but as I looked over the locations I did spot one that caught my eye.
Turns out that Alan and I met in Michigan, Ann Arbor to be exact, and we frequented Briarwood often in our junior high days. It was our teenage mecca. We rode our bikes or got rides from our moms (thanks as always mom!). Could JR’s be the record store in the mall where we bought vinyl!? It sure is possible. This is the kind of stuff that makes my day.
So these stickers definitely stay.
On the other hand, what about my recent copy of “Duran Duran – Notorious”?
Inelegant generic price sticker top right…
equally inelegant security sticker bottom left. I certainly think that these ruin the effect of the cover of the album, and, even though I am not displaying it… ew.
If I try and remove them though, the shrink will certainly either have holes, or be ruined, and then I say screw it and remove it altogether. To be fair, neither of these is truly a hype sticker, but they do illustrate my point.
I think in the end I have convinced myself to endeavor to keep intact shrink and hype stickers where I can, but I guess I won’t beat myself up too hard for the past and recent ones I have lost.
It’s all hype after all.