David Bowie's final album, Blackstar, is an astonishing work of art from one of the most original, compelling voices in the history of popular music. But is a single copy of it on limited-edition clear vinyl really worth $750?
A bunch of opportunistic resellers on eBay are saying, “Hell yes, it is. Pony up, bitches!” The clear vinyl version of Blackstar, available as an exclusive at (of all places) Barnes & Noble, as well as through Bowie's own website, was retailing for the relatively reasonable price of $32.99. But as soon as it sold out, listings began appearing on eBay offering the clear vinyl for hundreds of dollars. One particular ballsy listing that includes three lithographs is even starting the bidding at $999.
My first reaction to this story was, “Those bloodsucking bastards! How dare they profit so shamelessly from the fall of Ziggy Stardust?” Then I dug into the eBay auctions a little deeper and realized that clear vinyl copies of Blackstar posted just yesterday at fair retail prices have skyrocketed to $500 or more on the strength of multiple bids. One auction, which ends Saturday, started at 20 British pounds (about $29) and is already up to £361 ($524.61) on 47 bids. So what's driving these prices isn't so much blatant profiteering as rabid demand.
So should you get in on the action and drop $500 or more on one of the 5,000 clear vinyl copies of Blackstar currently in existence? Well, as I write this, there are only 68 listed on eBay, and just four on Discogs (including one selling, as of this writing, at the downright bargain basement price of $100 — get on it, collectors!). So supply is pretty limited. But it also seems doubtful that this posthumous Bowie feeding frenzy is sustainable, so patient collectors might be wise to wait until the last of the Bowie tribute parties has wrapped up its final “Space Oddity” sing-along.
One thing's for sure, though: You should really not be bidding $290 for Blackstar on 180-gram black vinyl. Or paying $35 plus shipping for a vinyl copy of Hunky Dory in “very good” condition. David Bowie's artistry was priceless, but that shit is not worth it.