The Fleetwood Mac Challenge – The Results

Original Cost of CDs after first lookI was set a challenge a few weeks ago to buy the eight Fleetwood Mac albums from the Buckingham / Nicks era onward for £32 or less in just 14 days. With the challenge accepted the first place I went was online to investigate if it was even possible.

I wanted to try to buy all the CDs new; after browsing Amazon, Play (and their Marketplaces) plus a visit to I found the cheapest copies of each album that I could. I was in trouble, the total was £41.21. Time proved the most expensive at £6.75 (ignoring the fact that one site wanted over £30 for a copy of Say You Will!). At almost £10 more than my challenge allowed it was obvious that I needed to look at ‘almost new’ as well as scour record shops, the internet and eBay.

I had to start somewhere and from my original scan of the titles I noticed that Tango In The Night was only £3.58. This was brand new and as each album had to cost no more than £4, I picked it up immediately. I had started off on a good foot and now had £4.06 for each remaining one!

In today’s world of iPods and digital music, often ‘almost new’ really means ‘opened, ripped to MP3 and traded-in’. If the CDs showed no obvious signs of being badly handled (or even used) then I would be happy buying them. Back on the Marketplaces of Amazon and Play, then on to eBay I got the price down to £37 in total. It still looked hopeless so I sent a flurry of tweets out to Record Shops asking if they could help with my challenge. I believe it is good to support the independent stores, yet I never got a single reply. So much for a mutual love of music-buying…

The response on Twitter from our own followers was great – I had a girl who worked in HMV checking her store, someone else checked his local independent, and many suggestions came our way. The game-changer was a tweet suggesting I try Zoverstocks. They don’t have their own site rather they sell the spoils from the CD trade-in website MusicMagpie on Amazon and Play.

The first one arrived!

The first one arrived!

Here I found Behind The Mask, Tusk and Say You Will for £1.96, £3.99, and £3.65. This was fantastic, I had completed half of my challenge and was only 3 days in for an average of £3.30 each. It also meant I had £18.82 for the remaining four, a healthy £4.71 per CD.

Three days searching went by when a “Watch Email” from eBay notified me that Time with a Buy It Now of £2.99 was newly posted. This was exactly what I needed; well below my original £4 ceiling. When I went to the listing I noticed they had added the “Make An Offer” button. I have used eBay for years though have never gone through this process. Ignoring the fact £2.99 Buy It Now was well within limit I couldn’t help myself. I cheekily offered £2 (a third off). Two days later the offer was rejected – I’m not surprised. Oh well £2.99 was acceptable I guess; no sooner had I thought it, the Seller counter-offered my £2 with £2.60. I should’ve just hit “Accept” but there I was typing in £2.49 to make another counter-offer. What was I doing? I needed this CD and the price was already more than acceptable. The following morning the Seller accepted the offer, I had just bought Time for £2.49.

Left with £16.33 (or £5.44 per CD) to get three albums, I discovered a 2004 reissued Fleetwood Mac with 5 extra tracks existed. Additionally a remastered Rumours with 1CD, 2CD and 3CD versions had recently come out. The 2 or 3 CD version was surely a pipe dream, but it didn’t stop me wanting it though. On I found the debut for £5.99 brand new. There was no second-hand copy here, though the site stocked an original (second-hand) 1984 version priced at £1.99 – I took note, and carried on.

If I was going to get lucky, eBay would be the place. Not only did I find the remastered Fleetwood Mac for £2.99 plus £1.30 postage, I also found a 3CD version of Rumours for £3.74. Both had a few days to go, though there was a number of bids on Rumours.

I needed to know how much bidding money I had available, so I had to buy Mirage quickly. Back on to my favoured Zoverstocks there was Mirage for £4.15. This had been £5.29 and way out of reach, but now was well below the new £5.44 per CD limit (ironically the original price was within the new limit too). Clicking on the Buy button was becoming an exciting feeling.

Half way through the challenge.

Half way through the challenge.

I had two CDs to get and £12.18 (£6.09 per CD) to play with. The Rumours CD was the most ambitious but also the last to finish – I had a chance now. I picked up Fleetwood Mac for £4.29 (only bidder). Now my maximum price on the 3CD Remastered Edition of Rumours including postage was £7.89.

The current bid was £4.18. There was four minutes left and nothing was moving, I bided my time and felt wildly optimistic. With 15 seconds to go I punched in £6.39 – my highest bid less the £1.50 postage. With four seconds to go I was outbid. The CD went for £6.79 (£8.29 incl. P&P), I felt gutted.

Back to the drawing board. I knew I could buy an original version of Rumours brand new for £5.39 – the first price I found and still available on Amazon. But now I wanted the remastered version, and if I was really lucky the 2 or 3 CD one at that. Still licking my wounds from losing the auction earlier I went on the offensive with £7.89 in my pocket. Surely with that amount I could scrape a win here?

On my favoured Marketplaces all remastered editions were around £9, the multiple CD versions even more. Then on eBay I found a store called ‘Revival Books’ selling the 2CD edition, second-hand in “very good” condition with free delivery for £5.65. I immediately bought it. This was the Sunday night of week one!

I had succeeded in buying all the CDs for just £29.76 in one week though only Tango In The Night had arrived. I felt extremely pleased with myself. Over the next week all seven remaining albums arrived. The second-hand discs among them were in excellent condition except for Time. That said, all it needed was a new CD case as both disc and booklet were immaculate.

All eight Fleetwood Mac CDs for less than £30

All eight Fleetwood Mac CDs for less than £30

When Fleetwood Mac arrived I instantly deflated. It was not the remastered version with 16 tracks as advertised That’s Entertainment had sold this version for £1.99 and I had just paid £4.29 for it. Not happy I tripled-checked the eBay listing; the EAN number, release date and tracks listed all pointed to the remastered 2004 edition. I contacted the seller to raise the issue.

I had 3 days left. I had met the challenge set to me, but not managed to buy the remastered version I hoped. What did I want to do? Could I get my £4.29 back, add it to the £2.24 I had left over and try finding the remastered version?  I certainly could buy that version for less that £6.53 but it would never arrive in time unless I headed out and started pounding the streets.

The Seller was extremely apologetic and claimed they didn’t try to mislead, rather it was an eBay auto-listing mistake. EBay states the Seller is responsible for the listing so they were at fault, but I also knew that  to send the CD back would cost me money. I didn’t  really wish to sting the Seller asking for that cost too; I believed their honesty.

Breakdown of Original Price Vs. Price Paid

Breakdown of Original Price Vs. Price Paid

In the end we agreed on a partial refund of £1.20 bringing the cost down to £3.09. The album ended up costing me more that I had originally found it elsewhere (though now not available). What was annoying was if I had bought the £1.99 copy I would have been able to bid higher than the winning bid for the 3CD Rumours!

Still, the refund meant I had completed the challenge for even less – £28.56, or £3.57 per CD. Soon the self-imposed additional challenge of buying the remastered CD faded away; especially since I had snared the 2009 2CD remastered Rumours; something I hadn’t expected as part of my £32.

Eight CDs in almost perfect condition for less than £29 – I was very happy! That’s a 30% discount over the first prices I found and 10% below the £32 challenge limit. It was a lot of fun getting here and not something I could do buying digital copies on iTunes!

CD Price Vs. Challenge Average

CD Price Vs. Challenge Average

Gareth Fraser
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