Jack White's Label Head Fires Back at Fans Upset About Album Auction

'These items will end up on eBay regardless,' writes Ben Swank

December 3, 2010 12:40 PM ET
Jack White's Label Head Fires Back at Fans Upset About Album Auction
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Ben Swank — head of Jack White's Third Man Records — fired back Thursday at fans angry over the label's decision to sell rarities on eBay. In a blog post in British newspaper The Guardian published Thursday, Swank backed up some forum posts from White directed at "whining" fans complaining about the label's recent sale on eBay of several limited-edition White Stripes LPs for $300.

"I don't think people will be as repulsed by the fact that we're auctioning our records when they hear we plan on donating $15,000 to charity from sales of these limited-edition LPs," he wrote.

Swank went on to defend his and other labels' decision to "hawk its own wares on auction sites," noting that the entire music industry is struggling to find ways to stay afloat, and since such rare items will be sold for a high price by somebody, why shouldn't it be the artist and label that created it? "Why not cut the 'flipper' out of the picture?," he wrote.

The White Stripes: Under Great White Northern Lights Photographs

Third Man is clearly a labor of love for White and his staff: It releases elaborate, beautifully designed, often expensive items designed for hardcore fans (check out its White Stripes "Vinyl Starter Merchandise Collection," which has already sold out).

Listen to two tracks from Conan O'Brien's live album recorded with Jack White

"Third Man customers take these limited-edition releases very seriously," Swank wrote. "But I understand fans' frustration when there is something they cannot get, and by us selling items on eBay it appears we are dangling something in front of their noses and demanding they pay more. We are not. These items will end up on eBay regardless. ... Today I received a gracious email from an auction winner who was very happy he won, pleased with the price, and glad that the money was going to us."

Why we sell Third Man records on eBay [The Guardian]

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