Ever stumbled over an album that you can’t find anywhere, then the most likely explanation is that the album is out-of-print. Albums can be out-of-print for a period or permanent, depending on sales, artist’s popularity & company etc. As albums become out-of-print the price usually goes up in the second-hand market.
OOT = Out-of-print
Out-of-print is truly a hassle for new Kpop fans, and for old Kpop fans as well. When an album is out-of-print that means that new fans of a group can’t directly support their idols by buying their album, and it’s hard and sometimes pricey to get the album from the second-hand market.
Reasons for an album going out-of-print.
Sales: If the sales are not going well or in the expectations of what the company expected they will most likely not print more albums and the albums goes out-of-print. Albums are printed in huge batches, and even if an album has been out-of-print for a long time and there is some demand, a company needs to be sure they can get their money back and a profit before they send in an order to reprint.
Disbandment: Groups that are disbanded rarely see any new prints because of quite obvious reasons. The only reason for reprinting albums of disbanded groups is to make some easy and fast cash for the company. To buy albums from old Kpop groups you usually need to go to the second-hand market.
Distributor: As under the epidemic the production of albums was slow due to little to no workers.
Company: Sometimes it’s simply the company making weird decisions to not reprint albums.
The price of an out-of-print album depends on the group’s popularity and the supply. As of writing this, Twice older albums are nowhere to be found in Kpop stores, but the prices on these out-of-print albums are retail prices (Prices from stores). Huge popularity + Huge print rund + Medium/High demand.
Loona’s pre-debut albums were notorious for being pricey. BBC (Loona’s company) has reprinted the albums irregularly the last few years and you can now buy most if not all the pre-debut albums for retail price. BBC has changed distributors 3 times and is one of the factors of the albums being out-of-print for a long period. The change in distributors has not been flawless – the first print run of the albums was of much better quality and pre-debut “First Press” albums are highly desired by fans. First Press is to this day more than double the price than the reprint ones that you find in the stores. In Loona’s case was High/Medium popularity + Low print run + High demand.
Stellar’s album “Sting” is a perfect example of a Medium/Low popularity + Extremely low print run + High/Medium demand album. The price of the album Sting is 3-4 times the retail price.