December 20, 2014
3. De La Soul x Dilla
Smell The Da.I.S.Y.
100 copies of Smell The Da.I.S.Y. were released in total, 5 autographed copies via eBay for the benefit of J Dilla Foundation and 95 copies were hidden in random spots in record stores in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, Chicago, and Detroit for Record Store Day. Clues were provided through BitTorrent bundles and social media, giving information about which record stores would have the releases in each city. In the spirit of J Dilla, a heavy crate digger, the treasure hunt was designed to allow only those willing to dig to buy a copy. Throw in an unreleased Dilla beat to close the record and you’re left with a highly desirable vinyl edition. Just have a look at its market sales for a sense of how coveted this record is. The initial five autographed copies that were auctioned on eBay sold for over $500 each. And the current secondary market is just as buoyant – a recent eBay sale ended with a winning bid of $860, and several Discogs copies are currently listed between $350,000 and $600,000. A pretty hefty mark up from $40-$50 paid for a store-bought copy.
Where this record ranks high in monetary value, for some fans ethical considerations have reduced its intrinsic value. Is it immoral and elitist to use an unreleased track from a deceased producer and then limit the run to 100 copies, even if there’s a competitive digging element? It’s a sure way to create hype and boost value of each individual record, but pressing 500 or 1000 copies would have kept everyone happy and perhaps raised more money for charity. It’s not a view held by all but it’s certainly a controversial dimension to this record and it’s an example of the backlash that can ensue when manufacturing rarity. And when you’re dealing with a dead artist and a dedicated cult following, this territory can be especially murky.