If there’s a running theme of late, the classics have become a hot commodity! A new, one-off recording of Bob Dylan performing his iconic 1962 protest song, Blowin’ In The Wind, sold at an auction at Christie’s in London yesterday (July 7) for £1,482,000, which is over $2.5 AUD!
The one-of-a-kind recording was produced by T Bone Burnett, using a new analog format of his creation called Ionic Originals. Burnett bills the format as the “pinnacle of recorded sound” and chose to re-record Dylan’s 60s folk classic Blowin’ In The Wind for its first public offering, performed by Dylan and recorded by Burnett. Prospective buyers in Los Angeles, New York and London were allowed to listen to the record prior before the bidding commenced, far exceeding the house’s estimate that ranging from 600,000 to 1 million pounds (roughly $1-1.7m AUD), selling for £1,482,000 or $2,582,135.84 AUD, according to a press release. The high bidder was not identified.
Peter Klarnet, Christie’s senior specialist in Americana, books and manuscripts, said in a statement, “We are so pleased with the excellent result this evening for the ‘Ionic Original’ disc of Bob Dylan’s first new studio recording of ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ since 1962. To work with such an incredibly important and groundbreaking advance in analogue playback technology is a tremendous honour. We are excited that this is just the beginning for this amazing new opportunity for recording artists to work with T Bone and NeoFidelity to reset the value of music.”
Burnett shared a statement about the new analog format, saying,
“Marshall McLuhan said that a medium surrounds a previous medium and turns the previous medium into an art form, as film did with novels, as television did with film, as the internet has done with television, and as digital has done with analogue. With Bob Dylan’s new version of ‘Blowin’ In The Wind,’ our first Ionic Original archival analogue disc, we have entered and aim to help develop a music space in the fine arts market. I trust and hope it will mean as much to whomever acquired it today at Christie’s Exceptional Sale as it does to all of us who made it, and that they will consider it and care for it as a painting or any other singular work of art.”
The concept of creating singular recordings, to be traded like fine art, is Burnett elaborated further on the concert in a recent interview with Variety, clarifying that an “Ionic Original is not a ‘copy.’ It is an original recording. We are not contriving scarcity. This is actually scarce. It is a unique, handmade, original recording. We have all been conditioned to accept the terms of and react to things from the frame of mass production. This is not that.”
“This really started because recorded music has been commoditized to zero over the last 20-30 years. Because we work in an age of mechanical reproduction, musicians have had to accept the definition of the value of their music from the government, from corporations, from technologists, from record companies, from streamers. Well, in this case, we have taken matters into our own hands, and we control the means of production and we control the copyright. We’ll be able to explore: What is the value of a song? What is the true value of Bob Dylan singing ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ 60 years after he wrote it, in this environment? And we’re gonna find out.”
And that, he did! For a timely reminder, you can listen to the original 1962 folk classic below.
Bob Dylan | ‘Blowin' in the Wind’
The new version produced by Burnett and recorded by a small band of musicians based in Nashville and Dylan in Los Angeles, went out straight to a newly invented kind of acetate recording, which Burnett has been developing for years. He dubs the new analog pressings as Ionic Originals, boasting a higher fidelity and a special coating that is said to make it almost impervious to normal wear-and-tear. Although it is a new audio format, the 10-inch disc can be played on a normal record player.
…If you can afford to get your hands on one.
READ MORE: RELIVE BOB DYLAN, NEIL YOUNG, TOM PETTY & ERIC CLAPTON'S ALL-STAR PERFORMANCE OF 'MY BACK PAGES' IN 1992
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