It's a natural occurrence that when an artist dies, interest in their work increases. Unfortunately, some people really look to capitalize on this. In the wake of David Berman's death earlier this month, there have been runs on physical copies of much of his work, including Silver Jews' catalog, his book of poetry, Actual Air (which was back in print this year for the first time in ages), and his new album as Purple Mountains, with crazy prices at sites like Ebay and Discogs. Drag City sold out their initial stock of the Purple Mountains vinyl/CD and copies had been listing for upwards of $100. One smartass on Discogs put up a copy for $1,000,000 (+ $5 shipping!), which another person posted their appropriate counter offer on Twitter. The listing got taken down not long after it went up.
Drag City, however, wants everyone to know "there's no need to be gouged!" They posted on Instagram: "We remain dedicated to our core mission: to keep the words, music and visual art of David Berman in print at all times. At least, that's what David told us our core mission was. So if you are trying to order his music or books or T shirts and find them out of stock, please don't fret, more are on the way. Vinyl production in particular is a time-consuming process, but rest assured, everything is coming back. So we encourage you in the interim to partake in the widely-available digital versions of his work."
They also wisely note, "If you have the means to pay $100 for a Purple Mountains LP, why not pre-order one for $20 and give the other $80 to MusiCares? Or your friend who can't get his shit together? Or tip someone 50% somewhere? Or buy a round of drinks for 5 friends you haven't seen in years (even if there was a really good reason for that estrangement)?"
Listen to some of the widely available digital versions of Berman's amazing work below.