When I started to buy records in the 80’s, I purchased a lot of records with “IMPORT” stickers and paid a premium for them.
So what did an IMPORT mean back in the day?
An album comes out in the U.S or in the U.K or in other parts of Europe first or Japan. And it gets some traction in those countries, but the Australian Release Window is months away or it doesn’t even exist at all. Since I was a consumer of UK and US Metal and Rock mags, I read the reviews and interviews of the album and the artist and I am interested in getting their music.
The only way to get it into Australia is via an IMPORT.
An import release would have a tariff between $20 to $50 added to the normal price.
So the album that would normally cost $20 to buy if it had a normal release window, would cost between $40 to $90 to get it into the country.
The debut solo album from John Sykes called “Out Of My Tree” released in 1995, was available to buy in Australia but it had a big IMPORT sticker and a price of $80 at Utopia Records.
Most of the record shops made a killing by charging extra for the IMPORT and so did the distributors.
Everyone was making money except the artist.
And the fan got the bill.
In the 90’s, most of the hard rock music I was after was not available in Australia as the overseas label didn’t organise a worldwide distribution deal.
But I wanted em and via IMPORTS, it was the only way I could get em.