The Marginal Utility of Putting Sexy Women on Your Album Covers

by Will on October 29, 2010

It’s quite high. As best I can tell, it seems to boost the price of used LPs from probably the $3 to $5 range to more like $8 to $10. It’s an ingenious strategy. That’s why those who employ it — mainly Roxy Music and the Ohio Players — employ it again and again.

It’s not that admirers of the female form see the record and think, “I want that for the cover alone and I’ll pay extra for it.” Rather, the albums stand out as eye-catching. You’re flipping through a bunch of records and suddenly there is an unusually sexualized image, and it surprises you since such images are not so common in public. You think, “Whoa! What’s this?”, see that the price is high, and move on.

But it catches in your mind. Every time you see it, it becomes more and more an album that you’re aware of and curious about, as long as you know that the band’s music has a positive reputation. This curiosity and awareness mount until one day you see the record again and decide you’ll pay the $8 to see if the bandmembers and producer were as clever about writing and recording the music as they were about composing the cover (usually they were, because they were smart and understood what it is that people want).

Full disclosure: I own the record pictured above and one by Roxy Music with a similar cover, having purchased both on a recent venture to Antioch. I am not so rational as I try to appear.

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