There are plenty of reasons why someone might want to spend time on Discogs. The long-running site is both an incredibly detailed source of information on records both lauded and obscure, and it’s also a place where you can easily buy long-out-of-print music if you, like me, are fond of physical media. Discogs has also provided a useful glimpse into what records might be ripe for high-profile reissues; writing about Numero Group’s Duster reissue campaign at The Ringer in 2019, Mark Richardson noted that “Discogs offers a useful snapshot of what’s out there, who has a given release, and who wants it.”
What happens if that balance between community and commerce begins to slip away? That’s the scenario that Natalie Weiner described in a new investigation for The Verge. Weiner points to several changes that Discogs has implemented over the last year, including raising the percentage it takes from sales earlier in 2023. At the same time, the company also began taking a cut of shipping fees; taken together, it’s prompted some buyers and sellers to look to other large-scale marketplaces like eBay and Amazon.
One seller told The Verge that “[t]he sudden fee increase was a huge, huge blow to a lot of people.” It’s worth mentioning here that sellers on Discogs aren’t just record collectors looking to offload parts of their collections; there also also plenty of shops for whom Discogs sales are a substantial part of their business.
Weiner also observed that Discogs hasn’t helped things by being more communicative; she details a request for comment that took the company almost a month to respond to. It’s been a challenging time for online music communities — see also, the issues raised by Epic Games’ sale of Bandcamp. Given the breadth of music covered by Discogs and the number of sellers using the platform, it isn’t hard to see why so many people are upset with the company.
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