Saturday, September 28, 2019

The most valuable vinyl records on the resale market, including a rare and 'evil' Prince album that sold for $27,500

Reverb VinylReverb
  • Vinyl records have become a hot commodity and are predicted to surpass CD sales for the first time in 33 years.
  • Certain rare records, like the single copy of the Wu-Tang Clan's "Once Upon a Time in Shaolin," are worth millions of dollars.
  • Other expensive records sell for tens of thousands because they were never supposed to be printed at all, like Prince's "Black Album."
  • Discogs, a crowdsourced database of music info and a vinyl marketplace, shared a list of the top 10 most expensive records it has ever sold.

When CDs were invented in 1982, the market for vinyl records quickly collapsed. But around 2010, vinyl started to make a comeback, and now prices for certain rare editions are sky high.
For the first time in 33 years, vinyl records are on track to surpass CD sales, CNBC's Daniel Bukszpan reported, and record prices are steadily climbing.
Rare records in particular, such as those with misprinted covers or low production numbers, have sold for millions of dollars. In 2015, disgraced pharma exec Martin Shkreli paid $2 million for the only copy of the Wu-Tang Clan record "Once Upon a Time in Shaolin," although he has since forfeited it to the federal government after being convicted of securities fraud.
Several online marketplaces that buy and sell vinyl records told Business Insider that they'd seen exponential growth in sales since the vinyl resurgence in the late 2000s.
"It has a lot to do with a counterbalance to streaming and downloading and any non-physical form of media," said Dan Orkin, the director of content at music gear marketplace Reverb, which sells vinyl records on its website. "As that became more dominant, I think a lot of people started looking to records as a more authentic way to experience music."
Aub Driver, a spokesperson for Discogs, an online music database with a large marketplace for records, said the site really started to see sales boom around 2015. From 2010 to 2014, most high-price records were selling for about $2,000, but in 2015 that number suddenly increased to $3,000 and then continued to climb.
Here are the 10 most expensive records ever sold on Discogs:

10. "Melody A.M." by Röyksopp

10. Discogs
Price: $8,025.04
Sold: January 19, 2017
Format: 2xLP, Album
Label: Wall of Sound
"Melody A.M." is a well-known album by the Norwegian electronic duo Röyksopp, but a handful of copies stand apart from the rest ⁠— and cost much more than the average record. In 2002, the duo sent 100 copies of a white label pressing of the album to street artist Banksy, and he spray painted a custom design on each cover. Two copies are still available on Discogs.

9. "Would You Believe" by Billy Nicholls

9. Discogs
Price: $9,851.06
Sold: April 26, 2017
Format: LP, Album
Label: Immediate Records
"Would You Believe" was recorded as a British response to the Beach Boys album "Pet Sounds," but Immediate Records ran into big financial problems just as the album was finished. With its label facing bankruptcy, "Would You Believe" was shelved and only about 100 copies were ever produced.

8. "Love Me Do" by The Beatles

5. Discogs
Price: $10,472.89
Sold: March 1, 2018
Format: 7'', Single
Label: Parlophone
The original recorded copy of "Love Me Do" is a demo, according to Driver, the Discogs spokesman, and only 250 of this particular copy were released. Why? Paul McCartney's name is misspelled as "McArtney" in the writing credits.
"That spelling error bumps the value up even further," Driver said.

7. "Ummagumma" by Pink Floyd

7. Discogs
Price: $13,845,84
Sold: August 16, 2018
Format: 2xLP, Album
Label: Odeon Records
This particular copy of "Ummagumma" was printed as a promo with white labels and red vinyl. The red vinyl was used only for promotional records of "Ummagumma," while the rest were more traditional black vinyl.

6. "God Save the Queen" by The Sex Pistols

2. Discogs
Price: $14,680.20
Sold: November 27, 2017
Format: 7'', Single
Label: A&M Records
"God Save the Queen" is an iconic song that helped The Sex Pistols spread punk's popularity, but before it was officially released by Virgin Records, about 25,000 copies of the single had already been pressed by a different record label, A&M.
The Sex Pistols' contract with A&M famously lasted only six days before the label dropped them for rowdy behavior and destroyed the single, but nine copies are said to have survived.

5. "Love Me Do" by The Beatles

5. Discogs
Price: $14,845.17
Sold: October 9, 2017
Format: 7'', Single
Label: Parlophone
Another copy of the same "Love Me Do" record came up for sale in 2018, which is why it's already listed on the top 10, but this 2017 purchase was worth an additional $4,000 because this record was in near-mint condition.

4. "The Black Album" by Prince

4. Discogs
Price: $15,000
Sold: April 22, 2016
Format: 2x12'', Album
Label: Warner Records
This Prince album was supposed to be a follow-up to his ninth studio album "Sign O' the Times," but just weeks before the scheduled release, Prince had a change of heart.
"Prince said the album was evil and ordered all 500,000 copies be destroyed," Driver said.
But just like "God Save the Queen," "The Black Album" couldn't be fully eradicated. A small number of promotional copies in black sleeves with no title, artist, or artwork in sight were given out to radio stations prior to the album being destroyed and are now among the most rare records on the market.
These promos, which were played on the radio, also made "The Black Album" one of the most bootlegged albums in the world, according to Driver.

3. "Supernatural Girl" by Ferris Wheel

3. Discogs
Price: $15,001.77
Sold: December 28, 2015
Format: LP, Album
Label: Nicro
In addition to being incredibly rare, the sleeve for this record also features a pocket on the top as opposed to the right side, which is the typical design.

2. "God Save the Queen" by The Sex Pistols

2. Discogs
Price: $16,125.18
Sold: November 7, 2018
Format: 7'', Single
Label: A&M Records
Another record that made the top 10 twice, this copy of "God Save the Queen" is in near-mint condition just like the one that sold for about $1,500 less in 2017. This one comes with a letter of authenticity from collector Eddie Lock, which is why it sold at a higher price.

1. "The Black Album" by Prince

1. Discogs
Price: $27,500
Sold: June 5, 2018
Format: LP, Album
Label: Warner Records
This edition of "The Black Album" is the only copy of its kind in existence. Okay, there might be one or two others out there ⁠(it's hard to keep track of an evil album) but this record, pressed at a Canadian plant, miraculously survived Prince's demand for destruction.
"It was an actual copy, not a promo," Driver said.
The vinyl eventually sold for a whopping $27,500 on Discogs.

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