Needle Screech Blog


Play Your Music, And Eat It, Too

The increasing return of vinyl to economic relevance means that creatives are working overtime trying to capture the imagination of potential buyers. The latest iteration: Cookie Vinyl.

Introducing Oreo vinyl, the tiny edible cookie that you can actually play on tiny turntables

A Hong Kong creative agency has designed a miniature vinyl record made from Oreo cookie that you can actually play music from with a tiny record player.



Despite the trend to digital in almost every area of the arts, it’s safe to say that orchestras will be needing their printed music scores for a long time. That’s based on evidence of more and more performing groups at universities and colleges welcoming the donation of large collections of symphonic and choral scores. Recent large donations have gone to places as diverse as the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, the University of Miami, and Duke University in Durham, NC.

Perhaps it’s the expense of having a printed score for every instrument and singer in an ensemble; a full symphony score with all the parts can run several hundred dollars, and often the company supplying the score will only rent it!

As an appraiser who has handled several of these donations, one word of advice: Since valuation is based on the actual number of materials, make sure your account of the scores is clear on HOW MANY types you actually have. That is, does that Beethoven symphony include conductor score, or just a study score? And does it have a separate printed score part of each instrument? If so, how many parts? It’s not enough to know “parts: violins; parts: horns.” Is that 10? 25? 125? Be explicit. Your appraiser, your tax accountant, and the I.R.S. will appreciate it!


One’s Man’s Life Obsession Becomes Legacy For The Future

It’s true you can collect virtually anything, and if you have enough of it, and keep doing it long enough, someone, somewhere, is going to want it. Here’s one man who collected more than 20,000 45s, and found a home for them at the Center for Popular Music at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro. That’s a pretty nice charitable contribution credit with the I.R.S. I should know; I did the appraisal.

Montanan’s 45-rpm record collection finds worthy home



The Vinyl Boomlet Is Driving Locals To Find Collectible Material

Plans for auction house specialising in vinyl records and entertainment memorabilia given go-ahead

A new auction house for records and music memorabilia is being established in the town of Newton-le-Willows, midway between Liverpool and Manchester in England. The small town (23,000 pop.) apparently sees an opportunity in the current economic climate to ferret out collectible music in the region and promote themselves as “enablers” between buyers and sellers. Certainly both major cities have significant music history producing artifacts ranging from Beatles-era rarities to classic rock concert posters. This regionalism may be a smart move, leveraging a local scene’s productivity for collectible material. Someone knowledgeable “on the ground” is more likely to uncover desirable material than someone at a major international auction house who simply waits for something to come in the door.

The headline above has the link to the original feature in the St Helens Star newspaper.


Brooklyn Academy of Music Puts 70,000 Archive Materials Online

An article in the New York Times announces the debut of online access to 70,000 items of precious historical music memorabilia from the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The article by Joshua Barone is here.

As more institutions realize the importance of their holdings, digitization of assets will increase. Deeper and deeper digging through storehouse boxes will unearth much that is precious, historically and culturally interesting, and valuable. That makes the cataloging and appraisal of collections all that more important. So many archives don’t fully understand either what they have or how significant their collections may be.

Here are some images of wonderful items in the Brooklyn collection.



One of the interesting recent developments in record collecting is the obsession with matrix numbers and pressing editions. As rare and desirable records become subject to market pressure from more savvy collectors and dealers, it has become a hot discussion topic. What constitutes a “first pressing” or first edition of a record?

Oldies collectors of doo-wop 45s have long been “wax” fanatics, looking up the numbers etched in the blank space between the end of the grooves and the label. Partly this was to reveal fraud, as many extremely scarce doo-wop and rhythm ‘n ‘ blues 45s of the 1950s were counterfeited. The other was to identify a re-pressing, a legitimate issue by the record company (or current licensee) but not the very first edition.

Now this level of detail is permeating the whole of record collecting. Used to be that knowing an LP’s catalog number and what kind of label the disc had was enough. Oh no. You may have an original first label (such as a Capitol rainbow label or an RCA “shaded dog”), but that’s only the start of the process. What pressing plant was used to press your disc? Was it the first run of vinyl manufactured, or later? For Beatles records, the level of detail can be boggling. Experts can identify whether a vinyl pressing of “Rubber Soul” was made on the East Coast, or the West Coast, and whether it was made the first week of manufacture, or the month after.

Such distinctions may matter only to a small number of serious record collectors. But as prices rise for the most wanted and rarest records, the details of matrix numbers – and other signifiers – will become more important. And the marketplace will respond to precise identification. has been one of leaders in the discussion and dissemination of these details. Here’s a posting in one of their forums that is truly eye-opening – or boring – depending on your interest level: Welcome to the Master List of Runout Information.



It’s a noble gesture (usually) for people to donate for raising money for worthwhile causes. The musicians donating their custom Les Paul Guitars (“art pieces’) to help support the Save The Music Foundation is such a one.

Chris Stapleton, Joe Perry, The Roots Contribute Guitars to Save the Music Auction

However, the prices obtained at such charity auctions often do not square with the reality of the marketplace. People are not just bidding on a rare, desirable artifact; they’re making a donation. A custom guitar may sell for $5,000.00 in a Sotheby’s or Heritage auction, but for charity, who knows. It may sell for $50,000.00 or $100,000.00. The point is these charity auctions don’t reflect the Fair Market Value of the items. If you are trying to guesstimate the potential of your item, using these kinds of charity auctions as your guide are bound to bring disappointment.


Having A Lot Of Records Is Not The Same As Having A Valuable Collection

We’re seeing this sort of article in regional and local presses more often. As Boomers take stock of their lives, they are often confronted with an accumulation of stuff that they need to deal with. Record collecting was easy to do, and relatively cheap, for a long time, particularly since the music was so much a part of the social fabric. But now, what to do, what to do. This man has my sympathy, but there’s probably no way he’s going to get close to a dollar a disc for over a quarter-million records. Given the details in this article, one can infer that this is an accumulation, not a collection. He probably just picked up anything he could get his hands on, and didn’t really concern himself with specific pressing editions (except those colored vinyl discs, apparently). Late 20th Century Western Civilization produced the largest amount of consumer goods in history; and now many people think they’ve got a gold mine. Well, there are a lot of “gold mines” out there. Don’t get your hopes up.

Medford man looking to sell collection of 260,000 records

The 68-year-old Medford resident has 260,000 albums in storage, but he says age and illness is prompting him to part ways with his prized collection that includes everything from Little Richard and Elvis Presley to Brahms and Beethoven.


The Wheel Turns… Elvis Memorabilia Plummets In Value

It’s inevitable that the groups of collectors who bolster specific niche categories tend to “finish” with their collecting at some point in their lives. Or deaths. The collectors of Elvis Presley records and memorabilia may have hit their wall, and as this article details, the value of the material is falling in the marketplace.

Many factors are at play here: The aging of the collector fan base for Elvis; the saturation of the market for Elvis material that is being given up by people who no longer want to collect “The King”; a phase of cultural history is passing into the limelight where the music and artifacts have less relevance to the fickle marketplace. Right now punk music is really hot, and prices are accelerating. Rockabilly has cooled down considerably. “Northern Soul” has plateaued. But for all the categories, including Elvis, the truly rare and the truly iconic material will keep its value. A near mint first original pressing of Elvis’ debut album will still command attention, though “Do The Clam” may pass into trivia territory.

Can’t help falling in price: why Elvis memorabilia is plummeting in value

As the King’s fans die of old age, and their collections hit the second-hand market, vintage Elvis records have never been cheaper