Acceptance – Phantoms (1st Press)

Posted: August 12, 2013 in Vinyl
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I’ll get the pertinent info about this record out-of-the-way now, before I go into the sad and hilarious circumstance about the release of this record. Pressing info for the first pressing is as follows; 200 copies on half royal blue/half clear, 300 copies on dark blue with white and grey marble and 500 copies on royal blue. All copies come with a full color printed dust sleeve instead of an insert, and come in standard single pocket jackets. The b-side labels are a laughing-stock; all they say is the “label’s” name. Plainest center labels I’ve ever seen, stock major label center labels like Atlantic or A&M look better than these. The entire first pressing sold out in a few hours, with the rare variants obviously selling out first. I was hoping it would last longer, hopefully not even sell out so I could hold off on buying from a “label” I knew would have issues. Sadly it didn’t so I was forced to sit through all the ridiculousness that you can read about from here down…

Just what the world needs; more people who think it’s cool to start a “label” and/or think they should start a “label” because they think they’re cool. Wasn’t even put up for sale yet let alone released and there were already six issues with this pressing. Which was fully expected by me after seeing who was potentially behind this “label.” Here they are in no particular order: 1. The price, $19 for a single LP before shipping. 2. Shipping price, $5.50 for a single LP. 3. Even though the records were done the geniuses who run the “label” wanted to avoid a pre-order but decided to put the records up for sale when neither one of them were in the actual state where the records were located in order to ship them. 4. One of the guys who runs the “label” got into an argument with someone in a public forum and in his typical fashion was condescending and acted like he is right and nobody should take an exception to how he is doing things. 5. One out of the two guys who run the “label” is clueless and has no business running a label. 6. The two out of two guys who runs the “label” is an aforementioned condescending jerk who also happens to work for another label that is infamous for insanely long delays with fulfilling pre-orders and providing shoddy customer service which he typically handles with the again aforementioned condescending attitude.

In regards to the price it was a calculated move to price it at such an odd number, $19. They knew people , at least more people, would flip out if they say a $20 price tag, so the purposely went one whole dollar below $20 so the sticker shock would be minimal and fewer people would refuse to buy it out of principle or because of the price tag. One of the guys who runs the “label” said as much. The same guy also said they based their price off of the already insanely high prices places like Hot Topic and Shit Radio Cast charge. So to all the people eagerly throwing their money at records they know are overpriced this is what you get; you just set the norm for pricing. Congratulations. And before people leave comments here saying “well you bought stuff that was deemed overpriced and you even bought this,” I’ll let you in on a little secret. Majority of the stuff I buy costs me very little if anything out-of-pocket. My Paypal balance covers a good chunk of most of my purchases after selling tons of random band merch I got, and well anybody can easily get, for free. America at its finest, a profit to be made off people’s ignorance.

One of the guys who runs the label defended the price point to no avail, without making any strong points, intelligent statements or valid arguments for his case. Some of the other records he used for comparison’s sake as a price point for single LP’s weren’t even single LP’s. He claimed it was the cheapest they could go, but we all know that is not true. There were plenty of cost costing routes they could have gone. Someone who runs a different small indie label brought up they could have went with no variants and pressed all 1,000 copies on black. The guy’s response; we wanted to do something cool with the colors and the price to change the presses around for three different colors did not cost that much. In my mind something “cool” with the colors does not mean using two different shades of blue, none of which really match the artwork, for three different variants. Solid blue, real cool and creative! Half solid blue/half clear, doubly not cool or creative. Blue mush, wow I’m impressed.

Regarding the $5.50 “flat rate” shipping, it’s nonsense. They use the argument “well it’s $5.50 for any amount of records you buy.” They only have one release. It’s not like people will, or even can buy multiple records from their extensive catalog. These guys could have easily set up their store to charge $4 for one item orders while adding a small amount per additional item should people want to buy multiple copies of their sole release, and charge $5.50 just for the bundle. Buying supplies in bulk is not that costly, less than $1 per mailer. Plus we all know it costs less than $3 to ship records coast to coast via media mail, and odds are these chumps will print out shipping labels and be charged less for tracking, or won’t add tracking at all.

In one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard, the “label heads” aimed to avoid a pre-order but opted to put the records up for sale when neither one of them were able to ship the records for over a week. With the records at least being done before putting them up for sale/pre-order, which is a good step for labels to take these day and should be a mandatory one, one would think they could’ve waited the 1-2 weeks to put them up for sale. Avoiding a pre-order means they ship within a few days after orders are taken and that there is no wait time for manufacturing the product you are selling.

When the record finally went live there were serious problems ordering. The “label” did not have their ducks in a row and maxed out their Paypal account. Everyone started receiving something nobody has ever seen before; an “account xxxx has been restricted” error when trying to pay.  Had they set it up properly it could have been avoided, there could have been no transaction or monetary limit placed on the account. Site traffic was also so high it caused everybody trying to check out to get cart errors and loading errors. Personally, I had the /200 variant in my cart at 1:59 pm EST, but the site froze and by the time I got through I received the account restricted error, so I missed out on it. By the time I got through 11 minutes after the record went live I was barely able to get the /300 variant. This is the first pre-order in well over three years that I was not able to snag the variant I wanted. I wouldn’t be upset if it just sold out on me, but I am upset because I missed it due to someone else’s incompetence.

Also stated publicly that the records would ship properly, as in an LP mailer and with the record outside of the jacket. Only half of that actually happened as all the records shipped inside the jacket. Luckily my copy does not have any seam splits, just a seam split in the dust sleeve, which I know is unavoidable even if you shipped records outside their jackets. The fact that the records were not shipped outside their jacket when it was stated that they were was brought up on a message board. One of the “label” owners response was this, quoted directly from the message board; “basically it came down to the fact that if we had taken each record out of its cover and replaced it in the polybag, we simply wouldn’t have gotten all the orders out.” How lazy do you have to be and what a poor excuse for not sticking to your word. It takes less than 15 seconds to pull a record out of its poly bag, then pull the record out of the jacket and then slide everything back into the poly bag. Another important aspect of pulling the records out of the jacket is to verify the colors going into orders to make sure the orders are being fulfilled correctly. There have been multiple times where I received the wrong color of a record because the label pulled a record out of box from the plant that was supposed to be full of only a one certain color. There has been at least one person who received the wrong color from what they ordered, but it was a step up as they received a rarer variant than what they ordered.

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