The White Label Auction in Aid of The BRIT Trust returns on Tuesday, 7th June 2022, with around 170 lots of rare ‘white-label’ test pressing collectibles – the most ever 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.
Net profits will go to support the work of recorded music industry charity The BRIT Trust, which since 1989 has donated around £28 million to charities and causes that promote education and wellbeing through the power of music and the creative arts, such as the BRIT School and Nordoff-Robbins music therapy. The White Label Auction has raised close to £60,000 for The BRIT Trust over its two editions to date – around £25,000 in October 2019 and up to £34,000 in May 2021.
The market for collectible albums, heightened by the lockdowns, is burgeoning and estimated to be worth millions annually in the UK, boosted by the ‘vinyl revival’ of the past 15 years (BPI reported 5.2m LPs purchased in 2021). A by-product of vinyl are ‘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 artist management or go into archives, and can be highly sought after by collectors.
A number of the UK’s major and independent record labels led by Universal Music UK/UMC (including A&M, Chess, Island Records, Motown, Polydor and Virgin), Sony Music Entertainment UK, Warner Records, Cherry Red, Cooking Vinyl, Domino Records and others, have joined forces to pull together a wonderfully eclectic and extensive selection of white-label items for auction.
Among the discs that fans will be able to bid for on 7 June are various recordings released/reissued in recent years, including some that are artist-signed and annotated by Robert Smith (The Cure – Acoustic Hits, Disintegration, Pornography, Seventeen Seconds, and Head On The Door), Dio (Holy Diver), Howard Devoto (Magazine – Correct Use of Soap), and Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys (OMD – Souvenir and OMD).
Other featured lots include catalogue repertoire from artists including The Cranberries, Genesis, Mike Oldfield, The Moody Blues, The Police, Rory Gallagher, Roxy Music, Simple Minds, Sparks and rock icons The Who; all three Spice Girls albums as well as recordings by sought-after established collectible vinyl artists such as Eric Clapton, Cream, John Martyn, Ocean Colour Scene, T-Rex, and Paul Weller – as well as The Jam and The Style Council. There are also more recent albums by major UK and global artists including Anne Marie (Therapy), Biffy Clyro (The Myth of the Happy Ever After LP), Charli XCX (True Romance/Sucker), Coldplay (Music of the Spheres), Joel Corry (Four For The Floor), Muse (Origin of Symmetry) and Royal Blood (Typhoons). Genres such as punk/new wave are represented via Buzzcocks, Magazine, The Ruts, The Skids, and The Specials; and rock/metal through Iron Maiden and Def Leppard among others, while original soundtracks from Grease, Mamma Mia and Peaky Blinders are also up for grabs. There are classic reggae and northern soul recordings from iconic labels such as Island Records including 7” singles box sets from Chess, Motown and Trojan.
Johnny Chandler, A&R Director at UMC, Universal Music UK, who devised the concept of the White Label Auction and whose colleagues collated the items across donating record labels, said: “Interest in the auction has grown markedly over the past two successful editions, and this year we have even more rare test pressings to tempt bidders, including for the first time 7” singles, which we hope will help us set a new record for the amount we raise in aid of The BRIT Trust. Huge thanks must go to all the artists and artist management teams, the record labels and colleagues who’ve dug deep again this year and donated so generously with highly collectible recordings drawn from all eras and genres of music.”
Dan Hampson, Auction Manager Omega Auctions said: “We’re very pleased to once again be working alongside The BRIT Trust, Universal Music, Warners, Sony, Cherry Red, Cooking Vinyl and all the other record labels and the BPI on what has proven to be a very popular auction amongst our buyers. We’ve seen a sustained rise in prices paid for both vinyl and music memorabilia in the last few years which shows no sign of slowing down so this sale comes along at a perfect time for us. The fact that the items come directly from the label, the scarcity of the white labels and also that many of the records are signed has meant that we’ve seen some fantastic prices achieved in 2019 and in 2021 and we certainly expect to see the total raised for charity to be a record this year.”
ABC – Alex Harvey – Alison Moyet – Anne Marie – Art of Noise – Beastie Boys – Belle & Sebastian – Biffy Clyro – Black Grape – Brian Eno – Brad Feidel – The Buggles – Buzzcocks – Charlie XCX – Christy Moore – Cocteau Twins – Coldplay – The Cranberries – Cream – The Cure – Def Leppard – Del Amitri – Dio – Doctor Strangely Strange – Diana Ross – Dusty Springfield – Embrace – Eric Clapton – Eurythmics – The Fall – Foals – Genesis – Gorillaz – Grease OST – Hawkwind – Heaven 17 – Iggy Pop – Iron Maiden – J Mascis – The Jam – Joe Cocker – Joel Corry – John Martyn – Kings of Convenience – Linton Kwesi Johnson – Magazine – Maisie Peters – Mamma Mia OST – Mark Knopfler – The Members – Mercury Rev – Mike Oldfield – The Moody Blues – Mott The Hoople – Muse – Ocean Colour Scene – Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – The Orb – Phil Lynott – The Police – Paul Weller – Peaky Blinders OST – The Proclaimers – Richard Thompson – Rick Wakeman – Rizzle Kicks – Ron Sexsmith – Ronnie Lane – Rory Gallagher – Roxy Music – Royal Blood – Rudimental – Rufus Wainwright – Rush – The Ruts – S Club 7 – Sam Cooke – Scott Walker – Simple Minds – Shirley Collins & Davy Graham – The Skids – The Snuts – Sparks – The Specials – Spice Girls – Squeeze – Status Quo – The Style Council – Suzanne Vega – 10CC – T-Rex & Tyrannosaurus Rex – The Teardrop Explodes – Tears for Fears – Thin Lizzy – Tim Hardin – Trojan Box 7” Singles ft. Bob Marley – UB40 – Underworld – The Who – White Lies – Wilko Johnson