hankrules2011

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Selling Music Online…

Posted by Scott Holstad on February 21, 2018

Audiophiles

McIntosh XRT2.1K Loudspeaker System: $130,000

 

Hi! Sorry it’s been so long. Obviously, per my recent posts, my life has changed a lot, and I have a lot less time and energy to blog. It’s not that I don’t want to; it’s just that between extremely poor health and other projects, it’s fallen down my list of priorities, unfortunately.

I thought I’d update you on one of my recent projects though. Among other things, I’ve turned my passion for music into a … business (?) … and I have opened a number of online shops where I’m selling new and used vinyl LPs, CDs, and cassettes, as well as audio components and accessories such as turntable mats, turntable cartridges, preamps, and speakers, among others. In addition, on a couple of my sites, I’m also selling a few “vintage” books and planning to add more. Furthermore, I have a couple of social media accounts at Instagram & Twitter where I post pictures and links to articles, posts, sales, & the like, so all of this keeps me very busy. I currently have seven – 7!!! – online shops, plus Instagram & Twitter, so thank goodness I can do all of this on my own schedule, eh?

 

Vinyl LPs

 

Seven shops are too many & I’m in the process of shutting one European one down right now. I then plan to shut another one down after that, leaving me with five. I may even trim it to four later, but for the time being, I have to get it down to five. I’m contemplating creating an e-commerce-based website for all of it, but that would be such a major time suck, PLUS I’d be on my own competing against the big boys and the littler ones, that I don’t know how feasible or wise that is.

I have been doing fairly well recently on one site that’s more audiophile-oriented: Discogs. I’m getting several sales a week there now, although at first it was hard to get going with no feedback. Now I have some, and I have orders out in the mail that should generate more when they arrive, ideally, so that’s been paying off. eBay has allowed me to sell some albums, as well as a few components & accessories. The site is really strange, though, because as soon as you’ve had a successful sale in an area, they WON’T let you list another related item for THREE MONTHS to penalize you (?) I guess, although they’re also penalizing themselves too, financially. How stupid is that??? So, when I went to list some preamps recently, because I had sold one, the site wouldn’t let me. More bizarrely, when I went to list a set of Klipsch speakers, the site said I was past my limit, although I’d never listed and obviously had never sold speakers there before! WTH? So, eBay isn’t making me happy these days, although I just sold an LP from there yesterday. Thus, I’m actually using more than one account with them.

 

Scott's Music Shak & Shop

 

My main site, although NOT my main selling site, is a Facebook Page: Scott’s Music Shak & Shop. I’m trying to get it known as a music and audio resource, a place people can come to for good content, photos, videos, polls, and yes, a Shop. While the Shop has not taken off, for whatever reason, some of the articles have gotten quite a few hits, or “reaches.” Some of the things I’ve posted about, whether writing them myself or sharing other posts, have included how to clean your vinyl, the top 30 goth albums of all time, how to rip your vinyl to your computer, Jeff Beck’s only Top 10 album, the Goldmine Grading Standard (the most hits of any post to date), cork turntable mats, the top “smooth jazz” albums of the ‘80s, what a preamp is & why it’s important, what a DAC is, etc. Possibly for budding audiophiles & the like then, as well as most music fans.

Meanwhile, what kind of music am I selling? Both new & used, as I said. On Discogs, the majority of my inventory is industrial, followed by goth, hard rock, electro, alternative rock, blues, classic rock, EBM, techo, experimental, funk, indie, pop, synth-pop, jazz fusion, & so on. In my inventory, I list over 40 different genres. I also have a variety of rare & hard to find items, such as an Australian promo copy of Nitzer Ebb’s Showtime, a very scarce (especially in the U.S.) Russian copy of The Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night with the text in English and Russian, mostly Russian, with the labels virtually entirely in Russian, and an incredibly rare unreleased Czech promo copy of Iron Maiden’s Killer LP. I’ve only found one other dealer in the world selling this one, & it’s very valuable. I also do custom searches for people for specific titles or groups. I’m doing one now for a customer in Italy who’s a Linkin Park fan. I’ve found him a couple of Russian titles he doesn’t own & a couple of Australian titles, one quite rare, he doesn’t own, so that’s good. Meanwhile, I’m searching for some Japanese titles for him that are proving difficult to find.

 

 

If you know anything about online selling, you know that it can be slow going. I’ve done a lot of research, read books, even signed up for a class, and I know the stats, the standard thoughts & beliefs, etc., so I’m thinking long term strategy, but sometimes it’s hard to be patient. The good news is, I’ve only been doing this for three months, and all the research I’ve done on Etsy, for instance, has indicated that it’s common to go six, nine, or even 12+ months before you get your first sale. Well, I just opened my shop there about a month ago, & I’ve had two sales there now & hope to have more as I learn more online marketing strategies. And at my more “established” (a whole additional month – wow!!!) shops, I’ve been getting more sales, particularly at Discogs, over the past month, so things are trending upwards. This is good & necessary, because I sank a lot of money into acquiring a lot of cleaning, packing, & shipping supplies, as well as some inventory to supplement my existing inventory. I’m determined to provide the best shopping experience possible, and that means I pack better than anyone, I use the best, thickest, most protective outer sleeves on my vinyl, I ship within 24 hours, I communicate well & respond to any communications quickly & effectively. And I offer additional services, such as the accessories & components & custom searches (the searches are free) for anything & everything. I can’t get anything, but I can get many-to-most things for customers. So far, my feedback has been 100% positive & my only frustration has been that not everyone who has bought from me has left me feedback, which hurts me & my reputation as a seller, & I know it’s not because they were dissatisfied, because if they had been, they would have contacted me about it, but they didn’t, so obviously, they were okay-to-pleased with their purchases. So, that doesn’t make me happy, but there’s nothing I can do about it. In any event, I really enjoy doing this & I’m doing this not only to earn a few dollars (and that’s ALL I’m earning – a few…), but because I really love it. I love making other people happy with music & being able to act as a resource for others when possible.

Naturally, I’d love it if any of my blog readers were to visit any of my shops. I’d love it if any of you liked or followed me at the sites that allow that, & of course, I’d be grateful for any sales too! But by no means feel obligated. I doubt any of you will, but I had to put that in there. However, if you do visit my shops, you may notice some crossover in some of them, i.e., some postings of the same item in a couple of the shops. Most of the time, that’s because I intend to be shutting down one of those shops in the near future and am trying to get all of the inventory at those shops listed elsewhere before I do. But you should encounter original items at each shop too, especially at Discogs, Facebook, & eBay, to a lesser extent. So, please visit. Also, please follow me on Instagram & Twitter. Let me know you’re coming from my blog to ensure I follow you back, and I’m thinking of the best way to give out a promotion to my blog readers on purchases you may make. How about this: I’ll refund my blog readers 15% off any item they purchase UNDER $100!! In order to get that refund, you’ll have to email me to let me know what you purchased when, & provide this blog post’s URL, as well as the item’s URL, title, cost, etc. You’ll also have to provide me with your PayPal email address, because I only take PayPal everywhere except Facebook, which only allows me to take Stripe. I’ve never refunded anyone on Stripe, but I’m sure I can learn how, & I now know how on PayPal, so send all of this info to me at scottsmusicshak AT gmail DOT com after you’ve made your purchase, and I’ll refund you, ideally, within 48 hours. Sound good? Sound like a deal? Cool. I am now going to post links to my shop & my social media accounts. Once again, I’d be grateful to anyone who visits any of them. All of them have some to many original items, so overlook any cross-posted ones you may see. And feel free to offer suggestions too! I’m all ears. Thanks everyone. Cheers!

 

 

ACTIVE Online Shops

  1. Facebook Page: Scott’s Music Shak & Shop 
  2. Discogs
  3. Etsy: Scott’s Shak 
  4. eBid: Scott’s Shak
  5. eBay

Current Shops I Intend To Close

  1. e-Record Fair 
  2. Bonanza: scottsshak’s booth  

Social Media

  1. Instagram: scottsmusicshak
  2. Twitter: Scott’s Music Shak  @scottsmusicshak

 

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Google+ (and my social networking history…)

Posted by Scott Holstad on July 20, 2011

OK, I admit it — I’m on Google+.  And I freakin’ LOVE it!!!  Am having the best time just playing around on that site, seeing who and what I run across.  If you want to find me there, here is my URL:  https://plus.google.com/113745399994458455981/posts.  Ever since I ditched FB last December, I’d missed that sense of … something, which I’ve tried to fill (or perhaps re-fill) with blogging, mostly on my old Xanga sitehttp://www.bukowski-rules.com/ and more recently, through my new WordPress blog here.  But it’s different, and we all know that.  Totally different animals.

Anyway, Google+.  I love what you can do with it. I love the photos, the circles, how you can post to only certain people via specific circles if you want.  I love how you can include and exclude info about yourself that somehow gives me a certain sense of (limited) privacy and security I never felt I had at FB.  I love how you can find certain people you find interesting, put them in a circle to “follow” or whatever and vice versa and how you never really have to “friend” each other to do this.  Cause trust me, while I literally did know some 99% of the 550+ “friends” I had on FB IRL, I quickly and sadly found out how few of them were really true friends.  On Google+, you don’t have to fake it. I dig that. I also like their Sparks feature, kind of like tags you’ll find on most blogging sites. All this being said, it’s still in field trials and there are still some things that could and should be done to improve Google+ before everyone in the entire world jumps aboard whenever Google decided to fully open it up.

Well, this topic made me start thinking about my own social networking (now social media?) history during my many years on the Internet (I wrote my first email in 1987!), so I think I’ll briefly touch on that, just for the heck of it. I’m just going to ignore the old BBS’s of the good old early Internet years, pre-Web. I think I’ll just skip ahead to my first known dive into social networking, even though it wasn’t called that then. Any old timers remember 2003? Yeah, it actually wasn’t that long ago. Still, a friend of me told me about a new website called Friendster where you could meet others online (but not as a dating site) and say different things about yourselves and each other and how it seemed like a pretty cool concept. So, I joined Friendster. And if anyone can remember back that far, it was really a pre-MySpace before MySpace was even founded. I consider Friendster to really be the innovator. Too bad it’s now basically dead and has been for years. Pity. Anyway, I quickly found out that everyone was on Friendster within months! And I met some very cool people that way, people I had things in common with or lived near or whatever. It’s how I met a woman who I had many things in common with (such as same alma maters, same degrees, same professors, same love of literature, same politics, etc.), who I then met IRL, and who I then (foolishly, in retrospect) agreed to marry when she proposed to me a very short time after. Sometime during 2004, though, Friendster did something foolish. For some odd reason, a TON of their users had set up accounts for their pets and they made many friends that way. Well, Friendster booted them all off the site, deleted their accounts, and created a great deal of animosity and bad PR in the process. Stupid decision.

Meanwhile, my new (and now ex) wife was a blogging fool on Xanga. I had never heard of blogging or Xanga. I used to tease her about having more of an online life than a real one. However, she set up an account for me in February 2004 and I tentatively started out writing a few lines here and there, not having a clue what I was doing. That said, I had moved back to Knoxville from L.A. and nearly everyone I personally knew in Knoxville was on Xanga, so that was kind of cool. AND, through Xanga’s Blogrings, you got to know other people and it was awesome to run across someone you knew from Xanga while out at a coffee shop or bar, etc. To this day, I still have my Xanga site and I have blogged off and on there since early 2004.

Speaking of 2004, I think it was that time that MySpace sprung up. Well, you know how things are online — fads. Friendster was forgotten by the world in under a month while everyone jumped ship to MySpace, where it was hip and cool to have your own page there. And I jumped over to that site along with everyone else, although I didn’t immediately abandon Friendster. Wow, MySpace was different though. It was what Friendster wanted to be, but didn’t know how to be at the time. And the thing that really hooked me was that so many bands had MySpace sites, increasingly as the years went by. That’s the only reason I maintained a MySpace account through, IDK, maybe 2009? I ran across some awesome bands that way, such as Android Lust, and I loved being exposed to new things. However, I never felt fully comfortable with MySpace, and I couldn’t quite put a finger on it, other than I sometimes felt like I was being stalked in some weird way by various people I didn’t know or want to know. So, I still concentrated on my regular blogging on Xanga.

I don’t remember when I first heard of Facebook, but it was back when it was only open to college students and then, shortly later I think, to high school students as well. I had no interest. But when FB opened itself up to everyone, I became intrigued, so I signed up and was delighted that it was becoming and did become an easy and exciting way to get connected with old high school and college classmates, old work colleagues, etc., who you hadn’t seen in years and who you’d lost touch with. That was the big time seller for me! Shoot, that was years ago too, long before everyone and their brother was on it. Toward the end of my time on FB though, I had been making some critical mistakes. I wrote things on my mind. Yep. On my own FB site. I know, the audacity! And much of the time, I wrote about political issues, such as back in 2008, during the election season. I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve been both a Republican and Democrat (although these days, I am pretty embarrassed to admit to having been a Republican at some point…), but when I lived out on the west coast, I was a fairly moderate fellow. Down here in the Red south though, while I still view myself as fairly moderate, leaning slightly left, I’m viewed as a flaming liberal and I quickly found out that dozens, perhaps hundreds, of old high school friends and some college friends just crucified the hell out of me for having the gall to express myself in terms of what I thought about Bush, the war(s), Obama, etc. I literally had over 100 people de-friend me cause of that! Yeah, good friends, right? Long story short, by November 2010 I was becoming seriously disillusioned with FB and my damn friends there, all 550+ of them. Frankly, not too many seemed like friends to me, even though I knew virtually all of them IRL. However, I had felt compelled to stay on FB because by that point, everyone in the universe was on it and more importantly, well over half of my own Xanga blogging pals had abandoned Xanga to move over to FB, and Xanga became like a ghost town quite quickly, where they at one point at over 40 million bloggers! But in late 2010, largely due to some completely unexpected relationship and legal issues, I was advised to do what I had decided to do several weeks earlier — delete my FB account. God, that hurt at first. However, as time has gone by, you know what? I don’t miss that damn drama one bit! I’m SO happy not to be on FB. That said, I still missed the daily connections, at least with the few people I cared about.

Most of you probably know about Twitter; who doesn’t? I joined Twitter in December 2009 and have been tweeting away ever since, mostly about useless crap. I have no idea why I have any followers at all. It’s still fun though, cause I have run across some really interesting people, most recently a cool girl up in NYC named Athena E. Stone who loves Queen possibly as much as I do, even at her young age. I really like that. I’m still on Twitter, but it just doesn’t appeal to me like other other social net working sites have.

So, that brings us to Google+. Please God, let it be the true social networking site everyone says it will be, the one of my dreams! Let it be as awesome as possible! You have to admit, while Google owns the Internet like Microsoft owns PCs, they’ve consistently failed in their weak social networking experiments, such as Orkut, a site I joined after leaving FB, since I was desperate for some sense of community. I still have a profile there, but I only know a few others who do and it’s mostly Brazilians for some odd reason.

There have also been other social networking sites I was talked into joining at one point or another. Hi5 was one. Gag. Terrible. Did not stay there very long. I can’t even remember the others. So I guess I’ll end by touching on the “niche” social networking sites, the ones that are theme-based and aren’t “true” social networking sites in the sense that FB is. My favorite is the professional networking site, LinkedIn. Wonderful site, great business plan, wildly successful, especially for what it is and is meant to be. There are now other professional networking sites, at least one of which I was invited to join, did and promptly left. No comparison.

There are literary sites too. Goodreads might be best known, but I never liked that site and quickly grew to hate it for so many reasons. One thing that irritated the hell out of me was that several of my books were on that site, owned by and reviewed by various members and users. The thing that truly pissed me off was when one of my books got a bad review by some asshole in some Middle Eastern country I can no longer remember, who admitted in his stupid review that he hadn’t even READ my book, but it sounded stupid so he was giving it a 1 out of 5! WTF? Are you shitting me??? Bye Goodreads. I had a gazillion friends or whatever they’re called there, and I didn’t care about any but maybe 20 of them. A far better literary site, I believe, is LibraryThing, which I think actually preceded Goodreads in its existence, but for some reason, has never caught on as much. Maybe that’s cause it started out strictly as a personal library cataloging site, but it expanded as time went by and I think it’s excellent.

Well, there are a bunch of other blogging sites, and I’ve obviously joined one here — WordPress — while still not having abandoned Xanga. I also occasionally blog on my Red Room author site, but that’s not too frequently. And I’m sure I’ve missed so many other blogging and social networking sites I’ve seen and tried out over the years, but I’ll stop now as I’ve gone on much longer than I intended to (and it’s long past time for breakfast!), so back to my original topic, Google+. How many of you reading this are on it, and what do any of you reading this think will happen with it? Will it be a Twitter killer, like many expect, or even an eventual (possible) FB killer, like many people hope? Or will it merely be Google’s final attempt at getting social media right for once? I want to know. Please, please leave any comments you might have about this. Cheers!

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