A Vinyl Hunter’s Dream: The World’s Most Expensive Record

double fantasy back coverFinding a rare vinyl record in your local flea market is like finding pure gold. You’d be surprised of how many valuable collectibles end up in the discount bin or gathering dust in the bottom of some crate at your average neighbourhood garage sales. Many are not only rare, but in excellent condition, too. For a collector of vinyl, doing some basic research and legwork in your immediate area could turn out to be immensely profitable. It may seem like a case of the infamous needle in the haystack, but people find priceless antiques and artwork all the time. Vinyl records are no different, really. You never know what you’re going to find when going on a record hunt, which is part of the thrill.

A prime example of striking gold is the story of Melvin Harper. This collector happened to stroll by a street sale while he was out walking his dog. A young couple had inherited an old estate and were emptying their attic. Harper naturally went for the boxes of vinyl records, and was astounded to find not one, but three limited Beatles releases in pristine condition. The records cost him less than thirty bucks, but would easily go for 30,000 on auction. Talk about a great return on investment (can you say, “ka-ching!”?)

Harper obviously won’t let his hunting trophies go just yet, but are keeping them in his personal safe. Over the years, he’s managed to hunt down an impressive collection of rare vinyl, often for mere pennies.

However, the ultimate collector’s item has continued to elude him: The 1980 release of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “Double Fantasy”. The most valuable copies were personally signed by Lennon himself, only hours before he was shot down in the street by fan-gone-mad, Mark David Chapman. One of these autographed albums was recently sold for the modest sum of $550,000, making it the most expensive vinyl record sold on open auction. It’s nowhere near the 2 million dollar that Martin Shkreli payed for the only edition of Wu-Tang Clan’s latest collectible, but it’s still a fantastic score if you happen to find a copy on one of your regular hunting trips.

double fantasy special edition

In all honesty, there’s not a very big chance that you’ll find “Double Fantasy” at your local discount sale, but as all collectors know, there’s always a chance. Even if you don’t manage to hunt down the most expensive collectibles, you can always find other rare albums at very low cost. Some are valuable already, while other copies will get a significant boost in both price and demand.

All you need to do is to sit on your findings until the artist in question expires.

Good hunting.

john lennon expired

Former Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Being Sued Over His $2 Million Album

martin shkreli
The worm certainly has turned for Mr. Martin Shkreli. Last week, the former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals had to face an official House Committee in light of his recent decision to raise prices on the company’s anti-parasitic infection drug Daraprim by more than 5,000 percent. On top of this, Shkreli also faces several federal charges for fraud. The 32-year old ex-executive has consistently denied all charges against him, and invoked his right against self-incrimination while being questioned by the elected House representatives on everything from dubious business practices to financial embezzlement.
If that wasn’t enough, there’s a new lawsuit being filed, involving the only existing copy of Wu-Tang Clan’s “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin”. Shkreli purchased the sole release for more than 2 million dollars from the famous New York rappers. The deal sparked quite some outrage in the hip hop community, as Shkreli instantly went on social media and gloated how he merely bought the album to keep it from the fans and that he had no intention of ever listening to it. It was just to show off how little money meant to him and how he could do anything he wanted.
clan in da front
But now it seems the deal has backfired on Shkreli. The artist who created some of the illustrations featured on the album is now claiming that he never gave the group permission to use them. Since Shkreli is the one who, in effect, bought the illustrations when he purchased “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin”, the original creator wants compensation stemming from profits involving copyright infringement.
The artist in question goes by the pseudonym, Koza, and is a graduate of New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology. The nine works he created for Wu-Tang Clan were only to be showcased on one of their websites. Koza states that he never granted the group a license for any of his works to be copied and displayed elsewhere. Because Shkreli allowed three of the works being shown in a news article (depicting portraits of current members Instpectah Deck, Shallah Raekwon and late member Ol’ Dirty Bastard), he’s now being targeted for breaking a number of copyright laws. Wu-Tang Clan’s leader, RZA, is also being sued for using Koza’s work in the album that was sold as an exclusive one-time print.
While the MC and producer was the one who originally took illegal liberties with Koza’s works of art, according to the artist, Shkreli is the one who is catching the most flak. One can’t help but wonder if the former CEO’s questionable attitude and conducts have something to do with the lawsuit’s priorities. Maybe he knows that Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nuthin’ ta f’ wit!
wu-tang logo
The three parties are currently discussion a possible solution through their legal representatives.

A Great Way to Celebrate Halloween – Old School Style

contestIt’s Halloween and kids and adults alike are out scaring each other half to death in order to get the most candy and other sugary treats. People are gathering to celebrate the spooky holiday together in various styles and fashions, and we at Vinyl Records Live are no different.

What better way for vinyl lovers to spend an evening together than to dress up as your favourite vintage artist and promoting your bestselling album to your peers? This concept is as simple as it’s mind-numbingly fun. The rules are as follow:

Every participant has to come dressed as their preferred idol (in full attire, naturally), accompanied by an item from their collection that features said artist. You can choose between single artists, duos or bands – one guy came dressed as the entire ensemble of KISS last year, and ended up winning first price for his imagination and execution.

Once assembled, your crew of famous look-a-likes will then be subjected to a series of grueling tests and questions meant to verify your identity. The more you know about your idol of choice, the better you’ll perform in the knowledge section. After that comes the true test of skill: the stage test. Everyone will have to perform a short bit of the most popular song belonging to the artist, with the twist of your rivals choosing the bit you’ll have to perform. This eliminates any attempts to game the system and will test your ability to improvise and entertain on the spot.

To make the competition even more challenging, each round involves a drinking contest, setting you up for much hilarity as you watch Sting or Keith Richards become more drunk as the contest progresses. You’ll even get a chance to witness an inebriated Slash make a move on Bonnie Tyler, or why not John Lennon?

A word of advice: Start the evening with the stronger beverages and level off as the competition becomes harder. This will not only weed out the fragile ones, but also ensure that the finale doesn’t devolve into a true celebrity showdown with wigs and makeup flying across the room.

To the victor goes the spoils – the full collection of the albums brought to the table.

There can only be one – go for it!

finished third

A Quick Plea to All the DJ’s Out There…

pioneer gold rigTo all you wannabe-DJ’s out there who insist on taking the easy route by using Serato software and the likes we only have one thing to say: Shame on you!

The art of real DJ’ing goes back to the 70’s, when Kool Herc, father of hiphop, started using dual turntables to extend the break beat of a track, thus creating the first hiphop sample. His block parties were legendary, with many of the historic crews battling it out to the sound of his ill beats, boosted by the loudest sound system in the five boroughs.

When you scratch, you’re not just entertaining a crowd of listeners; you’re also carrying the legacy of the pioneers who came before you and paved the road of your musical career. Using “fake” sounds is an affront to their blood, sweat and years in the game, and also comes out as extremely artificial and contrived. There’s a lot more to the art and element than simply downloading tracks or, in worse cases, stealing entire mixtapes and adding them to your playlist. Crate-digging is a noble profession with lots of history attached to it. You just can’t beat the feeling of finding a rare album at some obscure retailer, or purchasing a limited edition from a respected O.G.

dj cartridge

As a DJ, you have a responsibility to your audience. If you want to build some serious credibility, you need to honour the traditions and rules of the game, and that means doing it right! Your reputation can’t be bought by anything less than the respect of your peers and elders, meaning you’ll have to take the true school approach to your profession.

Don’t be another wannabe sellout; invest your money in real equipment and your time in actual hunting. Believe me, the crowd will thank you for it and you’ll be more than just another bland copycat in today’s sad trend of instant gratification.

Remember: Each one teach one.

How Much Moolah Is Your Record Collection Worth?

vinyl collection

Most vinyl collectors didn’t get into it to make a profit but for the love of great artists and their music. Nevertheless, it can still be fun to find out how much your records would bring you if you ever decided to put them up for sale.

Vinyl records are no different from any other collectibles (apart from them being way better, of course), and what will dictate the worth of your collection is how much people are willing to dish out for it – no more complicated than that. A popular record that was produced in massive numbers and owned by everyone and his uncle back in the day will obviously not be worth as much as a limited edition release.

If your collection consists solely of big names, such as Neil Young, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Bruce Springsteen etc., it won’t be worth as much as a collection of more underground and obscure selections (see: Devo, Kraftwerk, Grandwizard Theodore, and more…). These were made in far fewere original pressings because of their lower demand at the time of release. Ironically, that is exactly what makes them more valuable today. Bands that failed miserably in their prime are now bringing in huge amounts of moolah as collector’s items, which has increased their popularity exponentially. Some even enjoy a second renaissance thanks to the newfound retro status of their songs.

The worth of a vinyl record mostly comes down to two factors: condition/quality and rarity. How rare a record is considered to be doesn’t just depend on the popularity of the artist, but also on the format in which it was originally produced and sold. Some EPs and 45s were made in extremely limited numbers, some exclusively available only in certain countries. Mono recordings are greatly desired by heavy collectors, both for their rarity and alternative sound experience. It also depends on which genre you’re targeting, and from what time period, as rock and r&b from the vinyl golden age of the 40s, 50s and 60s will generally fetch you a bigger auction price.

You might be sitting on a veritable gold mine without even knowing it. Not that you would ever sell your treasured collection (would you?), but it’s a welcome bonus to know that your records not only are a treasure trove of memorabilia and nostalgic value.

If you’re curious in how much your collection might be worth today, you can use a simple auction calculator tool called Popsike to figure out the current price of your albums. Popsike compounds the sales reports from various auctions, giving you a pretty accurate measure in comparison to historic prices. The tool only lists items going for more than 25 bucks, so you can quickly find out what records are considered valuable and which ones are strictly reserved for your private pleasure.

Garage Sales and Dumpster Diving to Find Hidden Gems and Golden Nuggets

Batman 1989 OST

There are few things better than digging through old crates, hoping to come across new treasure. You can find a lot of great albums and equipment, often for cheap pennies, and it pays to always stay vigilant in the quest to expand one’s collection of olden goldies.

I recently found a real gem at a local garage sale. Being a frequent client at different bazaars and flea markets have perfected my crate-digging skills, and like a swashbuckling pirate of old, nothing will stop me from finding what I’m looking for (whether I know what I’m specifically searching for or not is immaterial).

Hidden beneath a heap of old comic books and magazines, I stumbled across a mint condition, limited edition release of the official Batman soundtrack. Imagine my squeal of joy, and you still won’t get it high enough (I’m surprised the windows didn’t shatter).

The first Batman movie was released in 1989, directed by the dark maestro of weird, Tim Burton himself. It’s really the second movie, as the adventures of the caped crusader was already envisioned on the silver screen back in 1966. The campy tales of Batman and Robin was mostly dismissed by fans, claiming the lighthearted cinematic experience to be an affront to Bob Kane’s source material. Burton’s version was much more well-received, depicting a Gotham City as a brooding, dystopian place with heavy Gothic themes.

The movie was much darker and more violent than any previous incarnations, originally giving the movie an R-rating in the theatres.

The ’89 release saw Batman going at it with his fabled nemesis, the Joker (played to maniacal perfection by a brilliant Jack Nicholson), and featured a great soundtrack with many unforgettable songs from artists such as Prince, Sheena Easton and The Marketts. Prince produced the album himself, and his funky beats provide a kind of surreal contrast to the depressing scenery that is Gotham at night.

The album cover is a feast for the eyes, with the iconic Batman logo in lucious yellow and black on the front. The back sports the tracklist, and if you open up the limited edition version, you’ll find all the lyrics engraved in an eye-catching Gothic font. The sound quality is superb. Prince worked closely with Warner Bros Records to make sure that his musical vision would be transferred flawlessly.

As a child of the 80’s, this find is without a doubt one of the best discoveries I’ve made in recent times, and the Batman soundtrack will forever hold an honorary position in my vinyl collection.

Now everybody do the Bat Dance!

the dark knight

Strictly for the Wealthy: Invest in Custom Records and Players Made from Purchased Gold Bars

solid gold recordIn 1977, humanity sent out a message into deep space aboard the Voyager exploration craft. The golden phonograph records were filled with famous sounds and pictures, meant to tell any intelligent life forms about life on Earth.

No encounters with extraterrestrials in the far reaches of outer space have been reported as of yet, but that hasn’t stopped enthusiasts from mimicking the iconic gold-plated discs for their own entertainment. Customized records made out of pure gold bars have recently become a popular investment for rich fans of old analogue technology.

Gold bars have a long history as a financially safe purchase when compared to the stock market exchange. It’s also been a means through which investors can protect their wealth against sudden inflation of common paper currency. Gold bars for sale will fetch a fine price on any international market. A way to increase the value of a gold investment even further is to melt down your gold bar purchase into collector’s items.

This is what’s currently going on in the record-collecting world.

Imagine your favourite vinyl record collection recreated in solid gold, and fully functional too! Well, you can stop fantasizing about it, as you now have the option of order your your own golden discs, custom made from high purity gold bars and filled with many of the best songs from the last century.

The idea originated in the States, where wealthy collectors and private gold investors are commissioning specialized precious metal shops to create golden replicas of their most treasured vinyl records. Albums on vinyl are already coveted investor’s items, and depending on factors such as condition, number of releases and limited editions, these records can be very expensive and hard to get. Add to this the fact that they can now be made from gold bars and precious metals, and you could potentially end up sitting on a fortune worth millions.

And it doesn’t stop there, as some wealthy music lovers also choose to have their entire equipment made from the same material. A golden record collection wouldn’t be complete without gold-plated players and speakers to complement it, now would it? There’s a whole business around pimping out old music equipment, with some shops going so far as to letting their customers hand-pick their own gold bars up for sale. Many people like to order their own gold bars beforehand from a local or online provider to ensure that their collection is of the absolute highest quality. Only the very best is good enough for the wealthy vinyl collector looking for a literally golden investment opportunity. If you’re a wealthy investor and are interested in gold bars for sale to be used for your own collection, you can head over to Bright Golden Future. Here, you can read detailed reviews of top-rated gold bar providers and also helpful information on how to find gold bars for sale and home shipment as a private investor. To invest in gold bars, you can simply sign up with one of their recommended gold companies. Your gold bar purchase will be shipped to you, or you can choose to have the provider deliver the gold bars straight to your custom shop.

These ventures of turning gold bars for sale into custom records and audio equipment are obviously not cheap. If you wish to invest in custom gold albums, record players and speakers, you need to be prepared to spend 25,000 at the minimum. In most cases, this won’t be enough to cover an entire custom-built rig, but it’s a good start for any private gold investor who is looking to get their feet wet, so to speak.

Once your purchased gold bars arrive, you are then free to customize them into records and equipment after your own heart. The end result will not only be a functional recreation of a classic collection, but a valuable investment in physical gold as well. The combination of collector’s value and spot price of gold is a splendid way to let your money grow in a beautiful and unique setting.

If the Golden Voyager Records really did end up in alien hands, and these beings are watching us right now, they might shake their heads in confusion at some of our strange obsessions. Or perhaps the love for good music is universal and they are rocking it out to their own versions of golden records and players.

We believe that it is…

golden voyager record