1. Please stop saying vinylS. the plural of vinyl is vinyl (or records if you feel compelled to have that S at the end, LOL). And for that matter please don't ever use the expression "limited vinyl" either unless you're someone looking to make profit by selling said vinyl.
At the risk of going on a bit of a rant here: Of course any vinyl release in this day and age will be "limited" - to however many copies people believe they can sell within a reasonable amount of time and/or without tying up too many economic resources. Depending on whether it's an independent artist like the P or a major label having the records pressed this means quantities between 1 and several thousand copies being ordered/sold at that time. The most common approach in "undergound" Hip Hop circles appears to be 300-500 copies because that's roughly how big the market is for many of these releases. Also, I understand these numbers make a certain amount of sense production wise, as smaller pressing runs also mean high costs per unit. In a way I consider something like Thes recent 'Triple Digits EP' to be much closer to a (non-commercial) test pressing, but I digress...
One thing separating these "limited" releases from another is whether there's a sufficient supply to satisfy the (initial) demand and whether or not they will be repressed down the line if they become sought after, and here's where the (label) politics come into play.
I honestly believe that an artist/label there's really no good reason to paint yourself into a corner by declaring you're only manufacturing X copies and that's it for all eternity. (If there's people out there who'd want to buy your music but simply cannot do so that sucks, not least because you're effectively missing out on those additional sales AND disappointing fans.)
So smart labels will try and match their pressing runs to how many records they think they can realistically sell the best they can. But that's making it sound much easier than it is - it's very difficult to anticipate how most records will sell.
A lot of this "limited" hype in recent years is just that though: HYPE!!! Many labels seem to have adopted it as their general business/sales policy to constantly bombard people with "buy now or (miss out and) cry later" propaganda. It's a marketing tool to them. By telling potential customers these tales and emphasizing over and over how few copies there are and how "special"/"exclusive" a certain record is they're getting folks to do what they want 'em to: fork over their cash. ASAP. Preorders, anyone??? Same deal. (I try to stay on top of current releases as much as possible, but TBH I'm over wanting to pay for something months in advance... Most of the time it boils down to how much I like/would like to own a record by now, and whether I'll be able to pick it up for a reasonable price further down the line.)
So that's a large part of why many records appear to be "rare"/sought after/in demand nowadays. Not that the P are doing it, but almost everyone selling records these days has an active interest in letting/making people believe their vinyl is (or soon will be) hard to come by.
The whole vinyl resurgence thing also plays a big part in it of course. There are a lot of people buying records (again) now, and many of them are of course looking for older records, too. The prices for many dope records on the secondary market have multiplied over the last couple of years. It's not just the P back catalogue (, although I'll be the first to admit I was surprised to learn how expensive the albums have become). I'd say overall it's a sellers' market ATM.
Thankfully I haven't seen P records become a grip and flip commodity yet though. (I must admit I really loathe those opportunistic jerks who cop records only to triple the price and stick em on discogs the very next day. It's like they're thumbing their noses at the artists/labels who put in work to make/release those records as well as their fellow fans by trying to make a quick buck at someone else's expense. I'm pretty sure there's such a thing as vinyl karma, and if not I pray the record gods see fit to smite a few of these crooks. )
While some items on PL70 sold out quickly, sometimes in a matter of days, this doesn't necessarily mean they were "sold out". It meant Thes didn't have any more for sale direcly, but usually retailers and distributors would have copies available for a good while after that. I'd swear the Highlighter 2LP took > a year to sell out direct, too, for that matter..?
One thing I really blame for the more ridiculous increase of "going rates" on used records is discogs! Don't get me wrong, I love the database and marketplace, but since the average Joe and 9/10 record store owners have started using it as a reference for prices/pricing there's also a definite downside to it, too. The funny thing is, most of them are actually doing it wrong, looking at current individual prices instead of the sales history and average sales price. Records that sit on discogs virtual shelves forever do so because they're too expensive and no one is willing to pay that much. But a lot of people are greedy and think they can sell their record for roughly the highest amount any copy has ever sold for, often regardless of its condition, too: if someone bought a sealed mint LP 3 years ago for $50 they'll ask $45 for their own VG+ copy with magic marker on the labels and a tattered cover...
Before discogs a lot of sales took place on ebay, making them much harder to trace (that is unless they went high enough to make it onto popsike ). The limited time of offers and the lack of fixed prices also prevented a lot of selling/reselling shenanigans. Sellers couldn't just multiply the price they bought the record for, they depended on at least 2 people driving it up through their bids. On discogs most sellers don't even have offers enabled, so no one will tempted to haggle about their overpriced items. They can't even be arsed to decline low offers...
To be fair, I'm sure there's also a handful people who list records they don't really want to sell on discogs for silly money - to them their asking price simply represents the amount they'd be willing to part with their precious record for.