A virtually unknown track by a virtually unknown British electronic producer has sold for over $41,000 (£29,800) on the music marketplace Discogs, making it the site’s most expensive record ever, and one of the most expensive records ever sold anywhere.
Choose Your Weapon by Scaramanga Silk – who hails from London, and has seven listeners a month on Spotify – was self-released in 2008, and there were only 20 copies made of the edition that drew the high price. It was released as a promotional vinyl edition with an accompanying poem, art print and CD.
The listing originally read: “Mega-rare collectible. Unplayed, Mint Condition. Numbered 02 / 20. Contains info sheet, signed record, signed art print [plus CD].” The $41,095 sale to an anonymous bidder was completed in December.
It is the only time Choose Your Weapon has been sold on the site, and both artist and Discogs are baffled. “It is very difficult to understand why the release went for that kind of money, as I do not believe that any record is worthy of such a valuation,” said Scaramanga Silk, who earns nothing from the sale. “The individual who made the purchase must have had some kind of special connection to the work too … It means a lot that Choose Your Weapon is so special to somebody.”
He said the track, which is not available to stream online, “combined elements of breakbeat, electro and UK rave,” and was influenced by electronic artists including the Prodigy, Drexciya, DJ Hell and Dopplereffekt. He added that Choose Your Weapon was “a response to the issues around knife and gun crime at that time. Much of the media coverage appeared to be focused on blame rather than looking at solutions.” The producer has since released his only album to date, Designer Scribble, in 2016.
Discogs said in a statement: “By several accounts, the release drew attention from collectors shortly after it dropped [in 2008] when it sold on eBay for $654. How that price tag sky-rocketed to over $40,000 remains a mystery.”
The huge price overtakes the previous Discogs record of $27,500 (£20,000) paid for The Black Album, the 1987 LP by Prince that the funk star had deleted before it went on sale.
The third highest price paid on Discogs is $15,411 for a copy of Love Me Do by the Beatles. A copy of the band’s White Album remains the most expensive widely released record ever sold anywhere, with the 0000001-numbered copy selling at auction for $790,000 in 2015.
The single CD copy of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, an album by Wu-Tang Clan, was sold for $2m in 2015 to Martin Shkreli, the pharmaceutical company chief and hedge fund manager who has since been jailed for securities fraud.
Only a handful of records have ever sold for more than the $41,000 paid for Choose Your Weapon, and are generally by famous artists like Elvis Presley, the Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix.