Sun Ra‘s master tapes are for sale on eBay. For $26,000, you can own the Sun Ra Arkestra’s “historic master tapes, stampers, and mothers.” Warren Allen Smith – owner of Variety Studio where the Arkestra recorded – posted the listing.
The bundle includes mothers and stampers, which can be used to produce vinyl LPs of the Arkestra’s music. Aware of the possibility of a copyright infringement lawsuit, Warren Allen Smith wrote this about the master tapes that he’s auctioning off:
“The stampers and mothers are particularly of interest as mementoes of the work by one of the last century’s great jazz band leaders. They are sold ‘as is.’ The buyer could re-sell the individual stampers. They are not sold for the purpose of infringing upon the rights of copyright holders. The materials offered have always been the property only of the seller.”
While a “buy now” price of $26,000 is steep, the bidding does start at $20,000– a full 23 percent discount. The collection, which includes a collaboration with Sun Ra and John Cage as well as two or more “that might or not be Sun Ra,” are materials that the Arkestra recorded at Variety Studio starting in the 1960s through the ‘80s.
But before you drop $20k for master tapes, the Sun Ra master tapes do come with a warning:
“The metal stampers/mothers are sold as a batch with the caveat that, unless a pressing plant with equipment similar to that used in the 1960s to 1980s can be found, no pressings could be made. It is possible that none of the present stampers can be used to make further pressings. However, it might be possible to digitize the data in order that a digital master could be created for digitally downloadable and CD creations.”
At least shipping and handling are free. You could always buy one of those LP frames and hang them up on your wall. Check out the listing here.