Get ready to party like it’s 2001, because classic iPods are making one heck of a comeback.
Following news that Apple had discontinued the “iPod Classic” near the end of 2014, early editions of the oldschool MP3 Player have steadily risen in value all over the internet. According to The Guardian, unused iPods have been seen on Ebay between $1,000 and $20,000, and even a “vintage brochure” is being sold for $50. This is especially impressive considering that iPod touch sales have declined in recent years, and generally speaking, old technology is eagerly replaced when a superior alternative is made available.
With multiple news sites calling classic iPods the baseball cards of our generation, does this mean your vintage devices have become valuable collectibles? As is normally the case with these hyped up stories, the answer is both yes and no.
Most of the data supporting the increased value of classic iPods comes from list prices on eBay, which is to say, they should be taken with a grain of salt. Just because someone offers an item for a high price doesn’t mean that it’s worth that asking price. For example, you could try to sell a pair of socks for $500, but they’re not going to sell at that price when the average consumer can buy them for less than $10. To be fair, the fact that iPod prices have risen en masse does indicate a trend, but it takes both sellers and buyers to determine a product’s value.
Second, the most valuable oldschool iPods tend to be factory sealed, limited edition models. Headlines were made when the Special Edition U2 iPod sold for an unbelievable $90,000, but sales like this are statistical outliers. For instance, a 7th Generation iPod Classic can still be had for roughly $400 on Amazon, and even the U2 iPod currently sells for $3,000. Yes, $3,000 isn’t exactly chump change, but it’s certainly cheaper than $90,000! Used iPods can still fetch a decent price if kept in good condition, but don’t expect an early retirement if you decide to dig your old MP3 player out of the closet.
Yet even if your iPod isn’t worth thousands of dollars online, could it still be a great collectible? Contrary to what some may believe, yes! It has been 15 years since the iPod first debuted, and many people around the world consider that compact wheel design incredibly nostalgic. After all, the original iPod was the MP3 player that defined an entire generation of music, and it acted as the catalyst for the leap from physical to digital music. Even without its historical significance, there’s a certain beauty to the old iPod’s simplicity. In an age before apps, smart phones, and the prevalence of music streaming on the go, the classic iPod had a singular purpose: play your favorite music as quickly as possible. It’s no surprise that many would enjoy using such a simple device while they still can, even if they don’t plan to jam to Outkast and Fountains of Wayne just like they used to.
Collectors have already amassed amazing collections of classic iPods, and as time goes on, those same iPods will only become more historically significant in the world of music. Even if your iPod isn’t your golden ticket to unfathomable riches, we bet the memories you had listening to your favorite music a decade ago were priceless. And hey, if your oldschool iPod is worth a fortune one day because you decided to hold onto it, just remember your friendly Gemr team was looking out for you.