A Record Price for Vinyl Love?

In 2016, the vinyl information and e-commerce site Discogs.com broke its own most-expensive LP-sale record twice. In March 2016, David Bowie's David Bowie went for $6826. That post-Bowie, death-related purchase was then topped when the next rock star fell. A month later, in April, a copy of Prince's Black Album, the grail of his catalog, went for $15,000. In recent days, however, the record was broken again when a test pressing of cult guitar hero Billy Yeager's 301 Jackson Street, one of just eight ever made, went for $18,000. The condition of the record was unclear from the listing.

Yeager is a mysterious character who may live in Florida or Kansas, has starred in a film called Billy Yeager, The Ineffable Enigma, once used blackface to try and pass himself off as Jimi Hendrix's long-lost son, and is now the object of a feverish search by cult-music aficionados, thanks to Discogs.

Turns out, of course, that the whole thing may have been a scam. In a press release, Discogs founder and CEO Kevin Lewandowski said in part, "Discogs' mission will continue to be built on the love of music, not the duplicitous nature of the hustle."

While I've had nothing but up-and-up dealings with Discogs sellers for the most part, I did have one experience with a teenager who did not have the Classic Records 180-gm reissue of Bruce Springsteen's Born To Run that he said he did. (As it turned out, he really just wanted to be my Facebook friend.) The price for the supposedly sealed record was too low, and so I should have known better. Always let the buyer beware?

The powers that be at Discogs eventually got involved and in the end I got my money back. But what I paid for Springsteen was just a tad less than $18k, so I pushed Jeffrey Smith who does publicity for Discogs about what exactly went wrong with the sale. He sent me the website's terms of service. I asked if they thought the Yeager record or its seller actually existed.

Here's the best part of what I got back about the seller:

"Relatively unknown. Dig deeper and you find he's been a part of other shenanigans."

In the end it may well be Yeager himself who is perpetrating this shenanigan as both seller and buyer. It may all be a stunt to earn headlines. Which makes sense because no one, not even the most blood mad collector, pays $18k for a single LP without holding it their hands.

John Marks's picture

This long-ago reader of "Audio" magazine suggest that there might be some involvement here of "Lirpa Labs."

"Lirpa" of course is Vladimir Putin's pet name for his favorite... manicurist. What Paul Manafort was really doing was trying to get Putin to lend Trump his favorite "manicurist," because Trump says he has big hands.

Happy March 32nd, y'all.