Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Brazilian bus magnate buying up all the world's vinyl

Zero Freitas, in his 25,000 sq ft warehouse. Photo: Sebastián Liste/Noor, for New York Times

"I've gone to therapy for 40 years to try to explain this to myself." NYT Magazine's Monte Reel with the story of the Brazilian who's buying up all the world's vinyl.

I've seen a ton of my music friends sharing this link around the place, it's a fascinating story. A Brazilian bus magnate, buying up the world's vinyl. Dude has too much cash. And how many records?

CNN reports that "No one really knows, and he told New York Times Magazine it was around "several million albums." 

Even that's an understatement, considering he just bought the entirety of a three-million album collection from a dealer in Pittsburg. He also bought the entirety of New York's Colony Records when the shop closed in 2012. His collection also contains interesting niche subjects, such as Cuban records, of which Freitas owns nearly 100,000 of. That's almost every album every pressed in the country.

The entrepreneur currently has a team of 12 college interns that catalogue around 500 records a day, which is still hardly enough to keep up. Roughly 30 percent of Freitas' collection are duplicates, which still doesn't seem too bad considering the sheer volume of his collection...."

It's the flipside to the reporting several years back, of two US record collectors, struggling to sell off their collections and being unable to find any serious buyers. Music Man Murray has a legendary collection (300,000+ records), going right back to 78s. He had been trying to find a home for his collection for years, talking with libraries and museums.

And Paul Mawhinney, who, according to the NYT article, "... spent about two decades trying to find someone who agreed. He struck a deal for $28.5 million in the late 1990s with the Internet retailer CDNow, he says, but the sale of his collection fell through when the dot-com bubble started to quiver. He contacted the Library of Congress, but negotiations fizzled. In 2008 he auctioned the collection on eBay for $3,002,150, but the winning bidder turned out to be an unsuspecting Irishman who said his account had been hacked...

...[late last year] eight empty semitrailers, each 53 feet long, arrived outside Mawhinney’s warehouse in Pittsburgh. The convoy left, heavy with vinyl. Mawhinney never met the buyer. “I don’t know a thing about him — nothing,” Mawhinney told me. “I just know all the records were shipped to Brazil.”

Al Jazeera recently sent a reporter to visit Freitas...

No comments: