One-Off Bob Dylan Recording Sells for $1.7 Million
The one-of-a-kind recording that Bob Dylan made of his classic song "Blowin' in the Wind" has sold at auction for $1,769,508. Dylan re-recorded his classic 1963 song with T Bone Burnett in March 2021 using new technology.
Bidding, which took place at Christie's in London, began at hundreds of thousands of dollars and ended about four minutes later. The winning bidder has not been disclosed.
The new track was recorded in 2021 as an Ionic Original — essentially a hybrid between CD and vinyl formats — intended to offer the highest audio quality possible.
Unlike Dylan's original 1962 recording, which includes only himself on guitar, vocals and harmonica, the new version uses a full band, including Burnett on guitar, Greg Leisz on mandolin and Don Was on bass. Even though only one physical copy of the recording exists, in-person "listening experiences" have been held recently in Los Angeles, New York and London, where fans and journalists could hear the recording.
Burnett has experimented with listening technology before. In 2008, he developed ΧΟΔΕ (pronounced "Code"), which allowed studio-quality recordings to be played on a DVD player. John Mellencamp's Life, Death, Love and Freedom was the first album released in the format, but it never gained much support.
According to Burnett, the Ionic Original can't be mass-produced, which means the one-off recordings will likely serve as collector's items and rare investments, at least for now. "I don't look at this as a replacement for anything," Burnett recently told BBC News. "I just look at it as another arrow in the quiver for every musician in the world [and] a whole new way of earning a living that we've never had before."
Burnett has also stated that Dylan recorded several songs using the new technology and that other artists are slated to do the same, even though nobody was specifically named.
“It’s something both Bob and I have done to the degree we could for our whole lives," Burnett told Variety. "But this is a chance now to do it not just for Bob, but for many other artists who are gonna do this with us, who’ve already signed up. With any luck, this is the way I’ll spend the rest of my working life, doing these beautiful one-of-one pieces of high art.”