In the last few months I have become a fan of the music of Karen Elson. As a member of the Third Man Records Vault service, I am alerted to new releases and since I have enjoyed just about everything they have put out, I was happy when they announced that her first single was going to be released at the South by Southwest festival this last March. A friend of mine was going to be there and I asked him if he could pick me up a copy since it was specially printed — three colors.
Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to get to the pop-up shop early enough to get a copy and the copy that I ordered through the web site was also not a three color print — when doing records by mail, they will randomly insert a three color print if one is still available. That was okay, because I still got to enjoy the single itself — a song called “The Ghost Who Walks.” Here is a video of Karen Elson playing the song live at the Third Man Records studio.
A couple of weeks ago, I read some murmurings on a Third Man Records forum that there was going to be three hundred copies of a special printing of the full new album by Karen Elson which was also going to be called The Ghost Who Walks. The special printing was going to be extra special because it was not only going to be on peach colored vinyl, but the vinyl would have the smell of peaches as well. If you watch the video, you can tell that peach is an important color to Karen Elson.
I kept on waiting for more details about this peach colored / scented release and finally I found out on May 26th that there was a certain link on the Third Man Records Vault web site that only Vault members would be able to access. I went to find the link only to find that they had sold out of the record already. Well, I figured they would have. Out of curiosity, I went on eBay to see if there were any sellers and of course, there were — two people selling their copies that they hadn’t even received yet for four hundred dollars.
Rather, they were trying to sell them for that much. One had a “Best Offer” option and I was immediately refused when I offered one hundred dollars — quite a profit considering the record only cost thirty. In the days that followed, I found out that there were so many people that tried to order at the same time that the server went a little wonky and so people ordered and then got apology e-mails saying that their order went through but they ordered after they had received three hundred orders.
Things got a little bit more complicated a day or two after that when Third Man Records announced that they were going to honor all orders and refund none of them — by doing a second printing. They did not announce how many records would be pressed for the people who had ordered but were not in the first three hundred. Complaints immediately went up on the forums by people who made it in the first three hundred and no longer felt as special because more were being made. Calmer heads eventually did rise when people realized that they still would have ordered had six hundred or a thousand copies been made available.
As for me, I will have to live with a standard black unscented copy of the record for now. Who knows when I may stroll into a record store and find it, unknowingly sold by someone who just didn’t realize the special value of that sweet smelling record.