Example: The Beat.
I mean, look at this site! This is a freaking crime!
There is no "inventory". CD's are made to order and "one of a kind", not available at any store anywhere.
I cannot express my relief that this situation has been rectified. Last week, Wounded Bird Records released The Beat's two classic power pop records on a twofer disc (I love those, as seen here and here, for example.) Here's the band bio, from allmusic.com (whose links I can never make work...)
A Los Angeles-based power pop outfit formed by Paul Collins (ex-Nerves), the Beat recorded its self-titled debut LP after signing to Columbia Records in 1979. Despite good reviews and some regional success, the album failed to make much impact. A second attempt, 1982's The Kids Are the Same (this time credited to Paul Collins' Beat), also failed and effectively broke up the band. However, Collins returned the following year with a harder-rocking lineup including Patti Smith Group drummer Jay Dee Daugherty. Their EP, To Beat or Not to Beat, was again ignored; it proved to be the band's last recording. While it seemed that the Beat's only claim to fame would be forcing the (English) Beat to change its name in the U.S., their albums are now seen as classic examples of power pop. Paul Collins returned to a solo career into the '90s, signing to Wagon Wheel Records.
Let me be clear: I never actively sought hipster obscurity. I just listened to what I liked and paid not very much attention to whether others liked it too. That's the opposite of hipster obscurity: I'm just a geek, and I embrace my geekiness. But I never understood why The Beat weren't huge.
In the early 90's, their classic tune "Rock & Roll Girl" was covered by The Muffs on Freedom of Choice, a CD to benefit Planned Parenthood. So they've been out there, had an effect, but never really commercial success. But they're a great band, and I encourage everyone to pick up the CD. I will, next payday!
Now, if only I can get the Starjets on CD.....
6/8 UPDATE: As it transpires, there's a "rogue former member" of The Beat selling these CD-R's! Oops. The real website is here. Thanks for the heads-up, readers! I'm always interested in making sure the artist gets his or her due.