12 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, March 23, 2001
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By David Edelman
Daily Arts Writer
KE EP YOUR BOOS,
1) The Record Exchange, located at 1203 S. University.
You bought Melissa Etheridge's Your Little Secret at the
1996 Lilith Fair with your girlfriend. Ex-girlfriend. Now
that your feminine side has subsided, what the hell are you
gonna do with the CD?
Lets face it: Everyone has CDs in their collection that
they could part with, especially with a little cash incentive.
Why admit that you own Milli Vanilli's All or Nothing when
you don't have to? Trading in your old CDs can be prof-
itable and easy, especially when there are stores all around
Ann Arbor that will give you money for practically any CD
in your music collection. But what store you choose to sell
your albums to can determine whether you will be hitting
the bars at Windsor or your head at the counter of a cheap
pizzeria. It is important to keep in mind what stores look for
when they give you an offer for your goods. There are some
tricks when it come to pricing that you should be aware of
in order to get the most for your troubles.
This is almost the Consumer Reports, if you will, of buy-
ing, selling and trading CDs around campus. The Michigan
Daily supplied a decently representative sample of albums
(some popular artists and some not so well known) which I
took to unsuspecting records stores in the area. Listed below
are the stores closest to campus that specialize in used
Record Exchange 1203 South University
It is difficult for music stores that sell used CDs to keep
tabs on all their merchandise. To organize the sporadic
influx of music bought from customers day in and day out
you need a good system. Record Exchange eliminates this
problem very well. Along with the knowledge that their
traders have received on what typically sells and for how
much, they incorporate the use of a special program on their
computers to tell them exactly how many copies of a CD
they have in stock. This allows them to offer good competi-
tive offers on a variety of music. Offers depend on how
many copies they currently have unsold in their store, not a
guess at your gullibility. "We are the most intricate in track-
ing products. We know what's there, how it should be and
what it sells for," said Chris, Record Exchange's store man-
ager. "No one has our selection, organization and quality."
Record Exchange at a glance:
-- Buys, sells and trades all media-related merchandise.
(CDs, records, video games, systems and even music mem-
orabilia). This makes for good trading possibilities.
- Takes close to everything, from your more popular
artists to your local unknowns.
- Offers very competitive prices for all types of music.
- Has a large selection of used CDs that typically run
from .50 to $5.
- Displays their merchandise by alphabetical order and
price. Cabinets make all albums visible.
- Has a two-week, money back guarantee that all their
merchandise works (skip free).
Wazoo Records 336-112 State Street
Although Wazoo's does not have as extensive a collection
of used CDs as Record Exchange, they still offer competi-
tive prices, which can match and beat other surrounding
stores. They would probably offer more for classic rock and
oldies albums than for more modern bands. Because they
deal a little less with used merchandise than other stores
you might be able to walk away with a good deal if the trad-
er believes that the album is highly sought-after.
Wazoo Records at a glance:
- Typically deals with high-priced trades of $4 to $5 an
- Will buy beat-up albums, which they send to be
- Offers are usually half the used sale price and are at
the discretion of the trader.
- Allows customers to listen to CDs in the store before
Discount Records 300 State Street
Discount Records gives a flat rate of three bucks an
album. That's a pretty solid offer, although you don't have
to browse through their selection to find that they only deal
with very well-known artists. They buy popular albums for
three bucks and jack their sales price to $8. If you somehow
convince them that your CD collection is the hottest thing
out there you can walk away with a sweet deal. Otherwise
you're out of luck. You can most likely get more money for
your more sought-after CDs by going to another store.
Discount Records at a glance:
- Offers a flat rate of $3-4 per CD.
- Deals with only more popular artists and albums.
- Has a fairly limited used music section.
- Will not buy publicity promos.
Back in 1994 you bought Green Day's Dookie for $17
and now a store will only give you a buck for it. What up
Despite small variations from one store to the next, most
will tell you that they look for two things when determining
the amount of money they will give you for your used CDs:
An album's condition and its popularity.
Condition is easy. Stores first must determine
whether or not they think the CD will play. Minor
scratches are fine, but if there are dents, nicks or any
cuts through the album, stores won't take them. They
take on all the risks of purchasing an album; even if it
is a popular title, if it doesn't play the store is going to
lose the money they gave you for it. The second thing
businesses look for is to make sure you have the album
booklet, back cover and anything else that came with
the original album. Jewel cases can be replaced, so their
condition is relatively unimportant.
An album's popularity can differ from store to store.
Stores buy what they can sell. You might want to sell a
copy of the new Rage Against the Machine album, but
if the store specializes in classic rock and attracts a dif-
ferent audience which listens to a different genre of
music they are going to offer you less for it. Think
about where you would typically go to buy the type of
CD that you are selling.
Stores also determine their own used prices by their
own supplies. If they have many copies of an album in
stock, they would keep lowering their own price and in
turn offer you less for them. It is often good when you
have a record that people don't often sell to their store.
These rarities will give you the most money. If you get
a low offer because a store has many copies you should
try somewhere else. If you believe you can get a better
offer, consider waiting a while until a store's copies are
all sold out. Consider these bits of advice. Just remem-
ber to shop around; offers differ from store to store.
3) Encore Records, located at 417 E. Liberty.
4) Ann Arbor resident Todd Cook is afrequent patron of Wazoo(3361/2 S. State Street), which has been
MICHAEL GRASS/Daily owned by John Kerr since 19% and has
Prom vinyl to Lionel (Richie), Ann Arbor's got the goods
been voted best record outlet by Daily readers for te last 12 years.
i0s an Hord considering that most if not all of the 30,000
DailkArts Writer or so who cavort around the University's cam-
Pop Quiz: Shirley & Lee were a) daytime
talk show hosts, b) baked goods manufactur-
oror c) a 1950s vocal duo?
The answer, as any self-respecting Rock 'n
Roll Jeopardy contestant knows, is c), but if
you, hadn't a clue, don't fret: Seeing as they
br6ke up almost 40 years ago and haven't
scored a hit in five decades, you're forgiven
for not having acquainted yourself with the
collective ouvre of Shirley Goodman or
Leonard Lee, old-school R&B singers and
part-tine lovers whose career spanned from
- tn he other hand, should you become an
official entrant in the game of hipster postur-
ing known to some as the Coolness Sweep-
stakes, John Kerr might have you beat. Not
only does he likely know more about the col-
lective oeuvre of the New Orleans-based pair
than you ever will, he's also got an original
copy 6f their biggest record.
- Valued at between $1,000 and $2,000,
Kerr'S copy of 1956's Let the Good Times
Roll is but one prized piece of plastic in a
record collection that's taken several decades
For -Kerr, record-collecting isn't just a
eekv hobby: it's how he makes his living.
pus have plenty of disposable income and that
Ann Arbor itself has always supported music
of all kinds, records will be sold here en
masse. Or, as Kerr puts it, "The continuous in
and outflow of students combined with a rich
musical environment creates a strong after
market for recorded music."
part of Ann
A r b or 's TeCoinflUou
charm has of students coni
always been .
that its rich musical eni
small-town creaes a stroq
cosmopoli- for recordedmi
tuals as well
as a glut of jeans-and-t-shirt college students,
you'd expect that the record-selling biz in
town has less to do with dog-eat-dog capital-
ism than serving a dedicated public. And
while Borders Books and Music, the most
lovable industry giant this side of Ben &
Jerry's, has nestled its fat corporate ass
between downtown and campus, it's the inde-
pendents - Wazoo, Encore and P.J.'s, espe-
stop if you know just what you're looking for. two years, including Wherehouse Records,
Encore's cluttered layout, on the other hand Disc-go-Round and, most recently, Liberty
- stacks upon stacks of used records and Street's SKR Records. Rumor has it that
CDs, with collectors items like seven-inch Tower Records left town last July due largely
singles and old magazines strewn amidst the to its belief that college kids prefer to pur-
records - makes it a can't-miss for collectors chase media from internet outlets - and ,
and rarity-hunters. And although it's tough to especially mega-websites like cdnow.com,
be politic when talking about these stores - amazon.com and BMG - rather than megas-
Wazoo and Encore are clearly tops, with PJ.'s tores. And though Kerr has augmented his in-
not too far store sales by peddling some of his rarest
behind so far items on E-bay, internet-boutiquing and Nap-
n andoutflow as selection ster-inspired pirating will likely continue to
bined with a is concerned haunt both big-names and independent stores.
ro me t- with so Even so, that's less of a problem in Ann
eronmern t much good Arbor, where astute customers and a demand
after market stuff floating for eccentric items go a long way toward
. around the keeping small shops in business. "I do feel
sIc. city, a ran- our customers are generally more knowledge-tt
-- John Kerr dom stop at able," Kerr said. "Probably this is due to the
Owner, Wazoo Records any of the fact that we keep something of a low profile,
dozen or so not much advertising or sales, gimmicks, etc.
record stores So the people who come in are dedicated BRETT MOUNTAIN/Daily
in the area (including State Street indies like enthusiasts.' Marc Taras, coowner of P.i.'s Records (6178 Packard), lords over
Discount Records and The Groove Yard and has giant Elvis stamp tapestry and eclectic selection of records.
South U's Record Exchange) is a perfect way
to kill time.
But if the scads of disc shops makes Ann
Arbor seem like a record-buyer's Utopia, one-r
ought to remember that owning one of them
surely isn't a no-brainer business venture,
especially when more and more music is y