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Charity White Label Auction to take place ahead of National Album Day

By | Published on Wednesday 18 September 2019

White Label Auction

As UK record labels and music retailers get ready for all those National Album Day fun times next month, an accompanying fundraiser in aid of the BRIT Trust has been announced which will see a few hundred exclusive white label records auctioned off.

The term ‘white label’, of course, is traditionally used to describe the small number of vinyl records often pressed prior to release, either for testing purposes or to provide to DJs for early promo. As the artwork that will accompany said release isn’t usually ready at this point, the vinyl has a simple white label stuck in the middle of it, hence the term.

Because these pre-release pressings are always limited in number, the resulting white label records can become very collectable if said record is subsequently a hit and/or critically acclaimed. Hence why you might want to bid for one in an auction.

Organisers of the White Label Auction, which will take place on 5 Oct, a week before National Album Day on 12 Oct, explain: “The explosion in sales of vinyl in recent years has created a wealth of white label test pressings – produced to ensure the sound quality is as the artist intended and so called because there is no sleeve/label artwork at this stage”.

“With as few as five or ten of each being produced”, they go on, “these first-off-the-press copies are typically checked by artists and their representatives and are much sought after by fans and collectors”.

A number of major and indie labels have teamed up with their artists to donate some white label vinyl to the auction, with old and new music featuring across the list of records up for sale. Artists whose white label records will be auctioned off include: David Bowie, The Who, Eric Clapton, Dusty Springfield, Ed Sheeran, Liam Gallagher, Coldplay, Arctic Monkeys, Kylie Minogue, Foals and Anna Calvi.

Universal’s Catalogue A&R Director Johnny Chandler, who had the idea of staging such an auction ahead of National Album Day, says: “It’ll be wonderful if, by auctioning these rarities, we can raise funds to support the amazing work of the BRIT Trust, whilst celebrating the ‘art of the album’ through National Album Day. If all goes to plan I hope, as long as interest in vinyl continues, the industry can make this auction a regular event”.

The big white label sale will be run by Omega Auctions at its Merseyside base with bids being taken online from across the world. The full catalogue of what is up for grabs will be published soon on the auction house’s website.