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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

"Who Knows What It's Worth?"

Paul Mawhinney has what's being called the world's largest record collection. His dilemma is how to keep it together as his health and finances fall apart. Valued at over $50 million, he's asking only $3 million. That he hasn't received any serious offers makes him feel like nobody cares. His pain is quite apparent. That's passion.

I don't think it's that nobody cares. I think he just needs a better marketing campaign.

I just saw on TV an infomercial for Sugarman's "The Midnight Special" DVD series. For $15 shipped you get each volume on a delivery schedule, with over 100 songs performed and classic comedy routines. Own a part of history.

Make it valuable. Make it give back to those who'd buy it. The owners of the footage are getting a return on their investment of preserving the show until now. They make money and solidify the show's (and by association, their) place in the history of our culture. The buyers of the DVD series get to share that history. You have to win when you buy something.

Whoever buys The Archive, like whoever would take over Roger Steffens' massive collection of Bob Marley and related music and memorabilia, will have to store and maintain the albums. That's a LOT of overhead: time, money, and space. It took somebody with the money and clout like Scorcese to really get the ball rolling on preserving film libraries in Hollywood. This guy needs a guy like that. And in some "you get what you give" kinda way, he oughta get something for it, whatever type of return the benefactor values.

That's the bottom line: the value. Individually the records would go for a total of $50 million. Together, the collection has a totally different value. One that's not solely financial. Imagine being able to say you're keeping a part of history alive, single-handedly. Talk about an ego boost.

So the problem becomes the value added. How will that egomaniac also pay the rent? Figure out how he'll make the collection make money back along with the status of ownership and Mawhinney'll have his buyer.

If you figure it out, tell him.



MaJic said...

i would buy his collection, as i like vinyl. but $3mil. im sorry....dont have even $3.00 on me.

SDC said...

That is a sad story to be sure. With the music industry circling the drain, benefactors from that corner may not come to the rescue like Scorsese did with film, but surely there's somebody who could see the value in a collection like that and save it from being scattered to the 4 winds or whatever happens if it isn't bought as a compete collection.

His point about digitized music is good - even if all that music were stored in digital form, a lot would be lost (even if it were stored in a lossless format, you lose the artifact itself, which is a shame. As recently as last week I made a CD purchase choice that ultimately was decided by cover art).

d.edlen said...

Steve, thanks for the comment!

I've gone through my internal struggle over what I do with regards to the sentimentality over the artifact. I like to think that by turning the artifact of musical art into a piece of visual art, I'm celebrating both, and all human creativity in general. I hope.

I treasure my own collection of vinyl, now adding the listings into It's kind of a pride thing, amassing one's own personal collection of artifacts. I don't think I'd want to be buried with them though.