The White Label Auction in Aid of The BRIT Trust returns next Wednesday, 5 May in the run up to The BRIT Awards on May 11, with around 100 lots of rare, collectible 'white-label' test pressings set to go under the hammer.
The auction – first staged in October 2019 – will be hosted live onsite/online for UK and international collectors by the music memorabilia and vinyl records specialists Omega Auctions from their Newton-Le-Willows (Greater Manchester) base. See the full list of lots here.
The explosion in sales of vinyl in recent years has thrown up the interesting by-product of 'white-label' test pressings – so called because there is no sleeve/label artwork at this stage – which record labels produce ahead of the full release of a new album. With as few as 5 or 10 being produced for each release, these first-off-the-press copies are typically passed on to artists and/or go into archive, and can be highly sought after by collectors. Recent auctions of music memorabilia suggest that demand has been heightened during lockdown.
A number of the UK's major and independent record labels led by Universal Music UK, Warner Records, Sony Music Entertainment UK, BMG, Cherry Red, Heavenly Records and others, have joined forces to pull together a broad selection of white-label items for auction to raise vital funds for the work of music industry charity The BRIT Trust. The Trust promotes education and wellbeing through music and supports charities ranging from The BRIT School, Nordoff-Robbins music therapy, Key4Life, Music Support, Mind, and East London Music and Arts (ELAM), among many more causes.
The final bid list is still tbc, with more titles to be added, but among the white label discs that fans and collectors will be able to bid for are various recordings released/reissued in recent years , including some that are artist-signed, by:
Beastie Boys Fight For Your Right – Blondie Plastic Letters – T.Rex Electric Warrior – Kylie Minogue Disco(signed by Kylie) – Doves Lost Souls and others – The Who By Numbers and Who's Next – The Kinks Lola (signed) – Embrace The Good Will Out and others – Thin Lizzy Johnny The Fox and Bad Reputation – The Cure Japanese Whispers (signed by Robert Smith) – PJ Harvey Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea (signed with original doodle!) – Paul Weller Self Titled and Heavy Soul – Cream/Eric Clapton Disraeli Gears (signed by Eric Clapton) – Neneh Cherry – Roxy Music – Working Men's Club Self-Titled – UB40 Labour of Love – Snow Patrol Eyes Open, A Hundred Millions Suns and more.
Johnny Chandler, A&R Director at UMC, Universal Music UK, who came up with the concept of a white-label auction and who collated the items, said:
"We had hoped to follow up 2019's first White Label Auction last year but Covid 19 put paid to that. However, with the essential work charities do so badly affected by the pandemic, it feels more important than ever to be supporting The BRIT Trust in this way. It's wonderful that during lockdown, once again a wide variety of artists and labels have come together to make this second event possible, and we are grateful to all of them for their generous support."
Omega Auctions' Dan Hampson said:
"We very much enjoyed hosting an incredibly successful sale in 2019 and we're excited to be involved again. Strong vinyl and LP sales suggest that the album is a format that music lovers continue to support and we're pleased to be able to sell some great titles here and to support the excellent work of the BRIT Trust at the same time. We achieved some amazing prices in the last auction and are keen to see whether we can beat the total this time around."