New Territory: Thoughts Behind THE LAST OF US Release & Beyond

There was a lot of chatter on the internet yesterday about our decision to put THE LAST OF US up for pre-order immediately after the sell out of our in-house stock. It sparked a lot of internal conversation here at Mondo around the subject of collectability and how we are perceived by long-term collectors, casual fans, soundtrack collectors, poster collectors, Last of Us fans and the gaming community at large. There were a lot of eyes on us yesterday. It was exciting, albeit a bit more controversial than we expected. 

We are regularly asked to edition our soundtracks, in a similar manner to our posters. This is understandable, but we’ve tried to remain steadfast in keeping the two worlds separate. People always ask about pressing numbers. There are some releases where we are happy to share edition sizes because we only ever intended to make a certain number of copies. In-house we refer to those as “Version Bs,” where we tell people "this release is limited to XXX.” That becomes part of the appeal, once they’re gone we won’t repress. Typically, we try to align that with a more open general release that will find its way into record stores, but fans & collectors know to come to us directly for their limited color-ways, foil wrapped variants, screen-printed editions and exclusive 7-inches. Most releases have an open edition companion; we love record stores and we want to see our releases racked in them. Not only is it cool for us as a company, but there are lots of folks who don’t sit on the internet the way we do 24/7.

THE LAST OF US is our first foray into video game soundtracks. This release has been painfully delayed for the last year. The internal conversation was always “we really hope people are still as excited about this as we are." This is virgin territory for us & we were anxious. As anyone who has produced vinyl will know, you place an order for a release and then you wait for 3 months (nowadays up to 6) until you get it in hand. Once we saw the final product and showed it to fans it changed the conversation completely. 

The response to this release was truly unprecedented. Both from vinyl collectors and video game websites full of folks that hadn’t been introduced to Mondo yet. We read the reactions on social media… We could tell people were excited about this one. On the day of the drop we truly believed our initial run of 2,500 was enough to satisfy the demand for such a boutique item. We were clearly mistaken. We sold all 2,500 in about an hour. Once people couldn’t add it to their carts we saw the anguish of our new fans. Instead of creating a bloodthirsty aftermarket and closing the door to an entirely new fan base we decided to do what we, as fans and collectors, would want our favorite labels to do and that was to open up pre-orders so people wouldn’t miss out.

This gets us back to the conversation of the ‘limited edition’ in the vinyl world vs. the collectable poster world. The limited nature of all of our releases (perceived or real) is what makes us who we are. We understand that opening up our offerings to the masses is not in our fans’ best interest. This title will still be a limited release at the end of the day (ultimately there will still be less than 4000 units pressed of TLOU). Once we close this pre-order, it will be the end of THE LAST OF US, and it will still be a collectible, limited edition release. We decided to keep the door open for the additional 1,500 fans who may have been left out of something we feel they should be a part of. 

We are completely open to a dialogue about this. We understand that some folks were put off by the misplaced urgency, or requested we differentiate the versions (“Add a sticker that says Second Pressing”) to which we are not inherently opposed. We love our fans and we hear your concerns. We also couldn’t be happier to welcome so many new fans to what we do. We can’t wait to show all of you why this release is so special.