London, U.K. (July 8, 2022)—A one-off recording of Bob Dylan performing his iconic “Blowin’ In The Wind” on the experimental Ionic Original acetate format, sold at auction yesterday at Christie’s in London for $1,769,508. The recording is on a specially modified acetate disc, dubbed an Ionic Original; the format was created by startup NeoFidelity, which is led by mega-producer T Bone Burnett. The disc is the first release by the new company and was sold by Christie’s with the express guarantee in its auction listing, “This is the only copy of Bob Dylan’s 2021 recording of ‘Blowin In The Wind’ that will ever be manufactured. No other versions of this recording will be released or sold.”
In May, Burnett exclusively spoke with Mix about the disc format, explaining that while traditional acetate discs degrade quickly over time, Ionic Original discs are acetates that are treated with a durable, imperceptible coating that has a composition similar to quartz and emerald, reportedly aiding the discs’ durability and longevity.
The 2021 recording is reportedly the first time Dylan has recorded the song in the studio since 1962. The 3:50 track was produced by Burnett and features a band comprised of Greg Leisz on Mandolin, Stuart Duncan on Violin, Dennis Crouch on bass, Don Was on bass and Burnett on electric guitar. Recorded by Michael Piersante and Rachael Moore, and mixed by Michael Piersante, the final mix was mastered by Gavin Lurssen, and the acetate was later cut by Jeff Powell of Take Out Vinyl in Memphis, TN.
In preparation of the auction sale, Christie’s held a listening session for the press and potential buyers to hear the disc and performance at BerkleeNYC at Power Station studios in New York City in mid-June. As a personal aside, this writer found the performance to be stellar, with the voice of Dylan 60 years on from the original recording providing additional weight and veritas to the now-familiar verses.
In a statement following the auction, Burnett noted, “Marshall McLuhan said that a medium surrounds a previous medium and turns the previous medium into an art form, as film did with novels, as television did with film, as the internet has done with television, and as digital has done with analogue. With Bob Dylan’s new version of ‘Blowin’ In The Wind,’ our first Ionic Original archival analogue disc, we have entered and aim to help develop a music space in the fine arts market. I trust and hope it will mean as much to whomever acquired it today at Christie’s Exceptional Sale as it does to all of us who made it, and that they will consider it and care for it as a painting or any other singular work of art.”